Updated June 16, 2021 - 10:04 pm
Las Vegas broke a decades-old temperature record Wednesday as a weeklong heat wave reached its zenith, the National Weather Service said.
The thermometer at its official monitoring station at McCarran International Airport recorded a high of 116 degrees at 4:23 p.m., the weather service tweeted. That was 2 degrees higher than the previous June 16 record, set in 1940.
The all-time high for Las Vegas is 117, last reached June 20, 2017.
“Stay inside and stay cool,” weather service meteorologist Jenn Varian advised. “Even when it cools down a bit on Sunday going into Monday, we’re talking five, six and seven straight days of excessive heat. It will be exhausting, so take the same precautions.”
The weather service forecast a high of 115 degrees for Thursday. That would break the June 17 record of 113 degrees, also set in 1940.
Carmen Millan, 82, did her best to heed advice Wednesday. She usually goes without air conditioning in her ground-floor apartment near East Desert Inn Road and South Athens Street, she said.
With her front door open, facing east and shaded Wednesday afternoon, her unit received a slight breeze, which an oscillating fan distributed throughout her small living room. The temperature inside was a barely tolerable 90 degrees.
A/C ‘too expensive’
“The air conditioning is too expensive to run 24 hours a day,” said Millan, who lives on $830 a month in federal Supplemental Security Income benefits.
She noted that an upstairs neighbor pays over $300 a month for electricity during the summer, which is why she keeps her A/C use to a bare minimum.
“I turn it on at night when it gets too hot,” she said.
At the Cambridge Recreation Center cooling station Wednesday, Marie Smith, 62, took respite from the heat for the third straight day with her son Michael Lawrence, 43, and her dogs Clyde and KeeKee.
“I have air conditioning at home, but it doesn’t work properly when it gets this hot,” she said. “That one (Clyde) was panting, and I can’t stand to see the dogs suffer like that.”
Both the North Las Vegas Airport and the city of Henderson also registered highs of 116 on Wednesday.
Here are Wednesday's forecast high temperatures for several locations across the area. Numbers in pink indicate June 16th high temperature records that are in jeopardy of being tied or broken tomorrow. Stay safe out there! #nvwx #azwx #CAwx pic.twitter.com/PHaIZNakO0
— NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) June 15, 2021
The heat is not expected to begin tapering off until the weekend, with Saturday’s high expected to slip to 113 with an overnight low of 89. But the weather service offered a sliver of possible relief in its forecast — a 10 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms Thursday and Friday afternoon.
“It will be brief if it comes, probably in the Spring Mountains and maybe the Sheep Range,” meteorologist Andy Gorelow said. “It won’t be much of a rainfall.”
An excessive heat warning remains in effect through Saturday night. The normal high this time of year is 100.
The weather service said that — since records were first kept in 1937 — there have been at least five instances when the high was at or above 113 for at least five days in a row. The longest stretch was in 1940, when highs hovered at or above 113 for eight consecutive days.
Forecasters warn residents to stay inside as much as possible.
“Limit anything outdoors to early in the morning or in the evening after sunset,” Gorelow said. “It will be extremely hot during the day and warm at night.”
The weather service also advised people to drink plenty of water and wear light, breathable clothing.
“Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location,” the warning stated, urging people to call 911 for assistance for possible heatstroke victims.
The Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross has shared the following 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.
Ryan Atkins, the NV Energy director of training, analytics and operations, said the heat wave will strain Las Vegas’ power grid, but the company does not expect any power outages due to high temperatures.
“We’re well equipped to handle these heat-type events,” he said.
Atkins advised customers who are trying to keep their power bill down to set thermostats at 78 or higher, keep blinds shut and avoid using the oven or other large appliances during the day.
— Walnut Recreation Center, 3075 N. Walnut Road (south of East Cheyenne Avenue) Las Vegas; 702-455-8402, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Pearson Community Center, 1625 W. Carey Ave. (west of North Martin Luther King Boulevard), Las Vegas; 702-455-1220; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Downtown Recreation Center, 105 W. Basic Road (east of Pacific Avenue), Henderson; 702-267-4040; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— 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; 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Cambridge Recreation Center, 3930 Cambridge St., (north of East Flamingo Boulevard), Las Vegas; 702-455-7169; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Whitney Recreation Center, 5712 E. Missouri Ave., (south of Tropicana Boulevard and west of Boulder Highway), Las Vegas; 702-455-7576; 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— 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.
— Downtown Senior Center (age 50+), 27 E. Texas Ave. (near East Army Street), Henderson; 702-267-4150; noon-3 p.m., Monday-Friday.
— 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.
— Colorado River Food Bank, 240 Laughlin Civic Drive, Laughlin, 89029; 702-298-9220; 8 a.m.-2:45 p.m., Monday-Friday.
— The Senior Center of Boulder City offers an air-conditioned place for older residents, 813 Arizona St.; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Contact Jonah Dylan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter. Contact Marvin Clemons at email@example.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Kevin Cannon and Katelyn Newberg contributed to this report.