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Las Vegas ties heat record Saturday, but short respite coming

Updated June 19, 2021 - 7:00 pm

Las Vegas had another day of record heat Saturday, but the National Weather Service said a slight reprieve is coming soon.

The weather service reported that McCarran International Airport, where official measurements are recorded, reached 114 degrees, tying the record set June 19, 1940.

On the plus side, the prolonged heat wave is nearing its end with decreasing temperatures expected after a projected high of 113 on Sunday. The June 20 record is 117, set in 2007, which equals the highest temperature ever recorded at McCarran.

The bad news is that next weekend is likely to be just as hot after a respite of sorts Monday through Thursday.

McCarran has reached at least 113 for five consecutive days, with a 116 on Wednesday — a record for the date — being the zenith. Thursday reached 114, also breaking the daily record, and Friday hit 113, 2 degrees short of the record.

Laughlin reached 120 on Friday, and 121 was projected for Saturday and Sunday. Death Valley topped out at 124 Friday. Furnace Creek at the national park visitor’s center had reached 123 at 3 p.m. Saturday on its way to a projected 126.

Brief drop ahead

McCarran is expected to reach 109 on Monday, 106 on Tuesday and 104 on Wednesday. Conditions are then forecast to warm toward 108 on Friday and 113 on Saturday.

“It’s officially outside of the forecast period, but the long-range models are indicating a 115 next Sunday,” meteorologist John Adair said. “After three cooler days, the trend late next week is upward.”

Overnight lows are expected to be in the high 80s through the weekend before declining to the upper 70s Tuesday through Thursday.

Ozone issues

As usual with summer heat, ozone levels have risen across much of the valley. People with respiratory issues might want to avoid being outdoors or limit their exposure.

Boulder City, Jean, Indian Springs and Mesquite also had ozone levels reach the moderate level on Friday.

“With the heat, it’s not likely to change,” Adair said.

California seeks energy conservation

In California, residents have been asked to voluntarily conserve power as the heat wave that is baking the U.S. West strained the state’s energy grid and raised the possibility of rotating outages.

As temperatures spiked on Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation that suspended certain permitting requirements — allowing power plants to ramp up operations if necessary to meet the demand for electricity.

The California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s energy grid, issued a Flex Alert for Friday night. People were urged to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and to avoid using washers, dishwashers and other major appliances.

The period passed without any outages and the operator thanked residents for their conservation efforts.

During an intense Western heat wave last August, the state had two days of rotating outages that affected more than 200,000 people. They were the first such blackouts since 2001.

The record-breaking temperatures are a weather emergency, scientists and health care experts say, with heat responsible for more deaths in the U.S. than all other natural disasters combined. With more frequent and intense heat waves likely because of climate change and the worst drought in modern history, they say communities must better protect the vulnerable, like homeless people and those who live in ethnically and racially diverse low-income neighborhoods.

Safety warnings

Officials have warned people to pay attention to safety warnings during the heat wave by staying inside as much as possible, drinking plenty of water and wearing light, breathable clothing.

“Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location,” the warning said, urging people to call 911 for help for possible heatstroke victims.

Hot pavement also can be dangerous to humans and pets, capable of inflicting third-degree burns at the height of the day.

At the Lions Burn Care Center at University Medical Center, injuries from hot pavement are so common that staff call the summer months “pavement burn season,” said Dr. Syed Saquib, the center’s medical director. Thirteen percent of the serious burn injuries seen at the burn care center come from hot pavement.

According to an April medical journal report co-authored by Saquib, pavement burns are often severe and require longer hospital stays and greater need for surgeries.

That’s because the people who are hurt often are unable to get up off the superheated pavement because they collapsed from dehydration, heat stroke or another medical condition or because they are intoxicated.

Cases start spiking once outside temperatures top 95.

The Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross also has shared the following safety reminders:

■ Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.

■ Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat and take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.

■ Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, spend much of their time alone or are more likely to be affected by the heat.

■ Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

Some cooling stations open this weekend

Several weekday cooling stations will be open Saturday and Sunday because of the continued heat, according to Clark County. They include:

— Walnut Recreation Center, 3075 N. Walnut Road (south of East Cheyenne Avenue) Las Vegas; 702-455-8402, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

— Pearson Community Center, 1625 W. Carey Ave. (west of North Martin Luther King Boulevard), Las Vegas; 702-455-1220; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

— Downtown Recreation Center, 105 W. Basic Road (east of Pacific Avenue), Henderson; 702-267-4040; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

— Catholic Charities, 1511 Las Vegas Blvd. North (near Foremaster Lane), Las Vegas; 702-385-2662; noon-3 p.m. daily.

— Hollywood Recreation Center, 1650 S. Hollywood Blvd., (north of American Beauty Avenue), Las Vegas; 702-455-0566; 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

— Whitney Recreation Center, 5712 E. Missouri Ave., (south of Tropicana Boulevard and west of Boulder Highway), Las Vegas; 702-455-7576; 8 a.m.-Noon Saturday.

— SHARE Village (daily hydration only), 50 N. 21st St. (east of East Charleston Boulevard), Las Vegas; 702-222-1680; 6-7 a.m. breakfast pantry, 8-10 a.m. grocery pantry.

— Courtyard Homeless Resource Center, 1401 Las Vegas Blvd. North (enter at 310 Foremaster Lane), Las Vegas; 702-229-6117; 24 hours all days.

— American Legion Richard Springston Post 60, 1510 Bruce Woodbury Drive, Laughlin; 702-299-1510; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on days with temperatures more than 112 degrees. An outside cooling area will be open for pets on a leash or in a carrier, but no pets will be allowed inside the building.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Sabrina Schnur and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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