Heat wave boosts burns in Phoenix as pavement, cars scald

Much of the Bay Area - including the South Bay - is under an Excessive Heat Warning on Wednesday as the hottest day in the week-long hot spell approaches Thursday.

Temperatures reached 53ºC in California's Death Valley on Tuesday afternoon, at the peak of the heat wave, but cooler weather was expected across the region by the end of the week.

There's record-setting heat in Phoenix for the second consecutive day. The record high was 122 degrees on June 26, 1990.

The victims were identified only as a 72-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman.

The first two fatalities recorded in the three-day heatwave took place on Monday in Santa Clara County, California, south of San Francisco, and included a homeless person found in a vehicle, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Fire officials in Arizona said the extreme heat could cause more fires to pick up.

Tuesday's high was 119 degrees, breaking the mark of 116 set a year ago and tying for the fourth-hottest day in the city's recorded history.

The high on Monday was 118 degrees, matching last year's record for June 19.

For a list of Cooling Centers and information on heat-related illnesses and prevention, visit the County of Santa Clara Office of Emergency Services website or call 211.

Though it has cooled off a few degrees in the Grand Canyon state, it's still burning hot, with a forecast of 113 degrees for Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Pacific Gas and Electric says its customers may break an all-time record for electricity use on Thursday, especially due to use of air conditioners. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern US has seen in years.

By 9 a.m. Livermore already had reached 93 degrees - 25 degrees warmer than the city as at the same time on Wednesday. Throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, high temperatures are expected to range between 90 and 105 degrees across most inland areas with locally hotter temperatures possible.

Authorities say people should avoid the outdoors and be in air-conditioned buildings during the heat wave.

The burns are among several hazards resulting from a heat wave that has plagued Arizona, Nevada and California, including deaths, increased wildfire risks and a water shortage in one community.

Death Valley, California, reached 125 Tuesday and Palm Springs hit 121, still a degree lower than the same day past year. The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 120 degrees (49 degrees Celsius), which is has only hit three times in recorded history in Phoenix, the last time 22 years ago.

Dangerously high temperatures kept planes from flying in Arizona, prompted an electricity conservation alert in California and tied the record high temperature Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Death Valley, California, reached 125 Tuesday and Palm Springs hit 121, still a degree lower than the same day previous year.

  • Leroy Wright