Las Vegas Ties All-Time Record as Heat Wave Bakes West
The Southwest again saw soaring temperatures on Sunday, with Las Vegas tying an all-time high of 117 degrees and the aptly named Furnace Creek in the heart of Death Valley, Calif., falling just short of a 100-year high of 130 degrees.
The deadly scorcher in the West led the National Weather Service to post excessive heat warnings for large parts of California as well as Nevada and Arizona, and heat advisories for other parts of Nevada as well four other western states.
In Las Vegas, the temperature hit 117 degrees at McCarran International Airport on Sunday, tying an all-time high for any month of the year, Weather.com reported. That temperature was last reached on July 24, 1942, and July 19, 2005. The normal high temperature for this time of year in Vegas is 103 degrees.
The heat wave turned deadly in Sin City on Saturday when a Las Vegas Fire & Rescue crew responded to a report of an elderly man in cardiac arrest at a residence without air conditioning.
When paramedics arrived, they found the man was dead, NBC station KSNV reported. The man, who was not identified, did have medical issues, but paramedics characterized his death as heat-related.
Seven people were hospitalized for heat-related health illnesses on Sunday, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
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In Furnace Creek—one of the hottest places on Earth—temperatures didn't quite reach the forecast 130. Instead, the weather station at Death Valley National Park reported a high of 128 degrees, still tying the record for the highest reading in the United States during the month of June.
The Weather Service extended the excessive heat warning for parts of California and Nevada into the July 4 holiday.
Saturday's high at Furnace Creek was also 128 degrees.
The highest-ever recorded air temperature on the planet, according to the Weather Service, was 134 degrees on July 10, 1913, in Death Valley's Greenland Ranch.
Heat advisories were also in effect Sunday into Tuesday for the Pacific Northwest, where highs in Seattle and Portland could reach into the 90s. East of the Cascade Mountains and into the Columbia River Gorge temperatures could even soar to more than 105 degrees, according to the Weather Service.
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In Arizona on Sunday, 50 homes in the central Arizona community of Yarnell had to be evacuated as searing temperatures, low humidity and winds allowed a wildfire to spread.
And in Pasadena, Calif., where temperatures soared into triple digits, at least 12 runners in a marathon event experienced heat-related illnesses, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian told NBCLosAngeles.com. Four men in their 20s were transported to hospitals in serious condition during the race, she said.
Saturday saw a slew of weather records broken, Weather.com reported, including in Phoenix, Ariz., which saw its fourth-hottest day in history, with a temperature of 119 degrees.
Salt Lake City, Utah, had its hottest June day on record—105 degrees—for the second day in a row.
It was so hot that two forecasters with the Weather Service in Phoenix decided to demonstrate the oven-like temperatures Saturday and baked cookies on the dash of a 2008 Dodge van.
"We were joking around that we should bake some cookies, because that sounds a lot better than frying an egg," meteorologist Charlotte Dewey told the Los Angeles Times. "More tasty, anyway."
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One report recorded the temperature in the van at 200 degrees. It took about four hours to bake the cookies—when the temperature hit 116, the cookies were done. Apparently frying an egg on the sidewalk was seen as passé.
In an another unusual occurrence, commuter airline US Airways Express was forced to ground some planes out of Phoenix on Saturday afternoon when temperatures soared above 115, NBC station KPNX reported.
The extreme heat creates less dense air, which does not allow some planes to get the lift they need to fly, according to the station's meteorologist Matt Pace.
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—By Jeff Black, staff writer, NBC News.