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Las Vegas Valley under excessive heat warning through Wednesday

Updated June 11, 2019 - 9:01 pm

An excessive heat warning is in effect across much of Southern Nevada through Wednesday night, prompting authorities to advise people to limit time spent outdoors during the hottest times of the day.

After Tuesday’s high of 103, the National Weather Service forecast calls for a high of 107 degrees Wednesday, meteorologist Barry Pierce said.

The heat warning could be extended until Thursday, Pierce said, as a high of 105 degrees is expected. As of Tuesday night, the warning is set to expire at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“Due to our cooler than normal May and lack of time to acclimate, heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke will be possible,” the weather service warned in its advisory. “People most vulnerable to heat illnesses include those who spend lots of time outdoors, those without air conditioning, young children, the elderly and those with chronic ailments.”

Temperatures will drop slightly toward the end of the week, with highs of 102 degrees projected for Friday and Saturday. Breezes from the southwest also are possible Thursday and Friday, with gusts between 20 to 25 mph, Pierce said.

No rain is expected throughout the week, according to the weather service.

The dangers that excessive temperatures post to residents in Las Vegas was highlighted by a study published last week by the Desert Research Institute.

Titled “Extreme heat and mortality rates in Las Vegas, Nevada: interannual variations and thresholds,” the study found a clear correlation between heat wave episodes and heat-related deaths in Las Vegas over the last 10 years.

Erick Banadala, Ph.D. assistant professor at DRI and lead author of the study, found that Las Vegas has had an increase in extreme heat events and public health effects. The study, conducted from 2007 to 2016 by DRI faculty and students, Nevada State College and Universidad de Las Americas Puebla, showed there were 437 heat-related deaths in Las Vegas, with the most occurring in 2016.

Throughout the study, Bandala found that those age 50 and older had the greatest risk for a heat-related death, which is notable as Las Vegas’ 50 and over population is increasing. Of the heat-related deaths of those older than 50, researchers often found evidence of pre-existing heart disease. Of the heat-related deaths of those 20- to 50-years-old, evidence of drug and alcohol use was often a contributing factor, the study found.

“This research helps us better understand the connection between the climate changes we’ve experienced in Las Vegas and their impact to public health over the last 35 years,” Bandala said. “Ideally, this data analysis will help our community adapt to the changes yet to come.”

Contact Jessica Terrones at jterrones@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256. Follow @JessATerrones on Twitter.

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