Sizzling heat wave creates health hazard in southwestern US

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Joshua Lott

A potentially record-shattering heat wave is rolling into the Southwest U.S., threatening to bring 120-degree temperatures to parts of Arizona and California. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Arizona, Nevada, and parts of California, where temperatures are expected to reach as high as 122 degrees F (50 C).

Forecasters issued an excessive heat warning for southern Utah's Zion National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell through Thursday night.

In northern Arizona, the Weather Service is predicting near-record temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday - Flagstaff could reach 95 degrees on Tuesday vs.an all-time high of 97 set in 1973. Nearly the entire Golden State was predicted to simmer above normal temperatures, easing just short of the coast.

Weather service meteorologist Ashley Allen says the Strip's tall, close buildings and long stretches of concrete cause the area to heat quickly and cool slowly. A punishing heat wave has arrived in the Southwestern U.S. and brought temperatures that will approach 120 degrees in Arizona.

Salvation Army volunteer Jackie Rifkin tries to keep cool at she works at a special Salvation Army hydration station to help people try to keep hydrated and stay cool as temperatures climb to near-record highs, Monday, June 19, 2017, in Phoenix.

The all-time high for Tucson is 117 degrees, set on June 26, 1990.

American Airlines announced Monday that it has canceled its regional flights - approximately 20 flights - for Tuesday, June 20.

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Larger airliners made by Boeing and Airbus have higher maximum operating temperatures, but airlines still need to closely monitor the weight of the jets during the heat. The city typically experiences a high in the middle to upper 100s during the last half of June.

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Foster says young children are particularly vulnerable because their skin is more sensitive.

Tourists hitting the Las Vegas Strip will feel the sizzle Monday as temperatures could top 114 degrees.

Dr. Moneesh Bhow, medical director for Banner University Medical Center Emergency department, said the body's internal cooling mechanisms are ineffective when temps reach above 110 degrees. But the NWS says temperature levels will continue into next weekend.

The Tucson airport has no record of heat-related flight cancellations and has heard nothing regarding any possible cancellations of Tucson flights during the current heat wave, TIA spokesman David Hatfield said, noting that individual airlines make those decisions.

American is letting Phoenix passengers flying during the peak heat period between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.to change flights without a fee.

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