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Scorching heat grips the US Southwest as records plummet and more triple digits are forecast

Reno, Nev. – The first heat wave of the year is expected to continue its grip on the southwestern US for at least another day on Friday, after records fell across the region with temperatures topping 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) from California to Arizona ) rose.

Although the official start of summer is still two weeks away, roughly half of Arizona and Nevada are under an extreme heat warning, which the National Weather Service has extended until Friday evening. The alert was extended through Saturday in Las Vegas, where it has never been so warm this early in the year.

“High temperatures as high as 10 to 15 degrees above normal can be expected, with record temperatures likely for some locations through Friday,” the weather service in Las Vegas said. Temperatures will slowly decrease over the weekend, but will remain above normal until the late hours. start next week.

“It’s so hot,” said Eleanor Wallace, 9, who visited Phoenix from northern Utah on Thursday while walking to celebrate her birthday with her mother, Megan Wallace.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix, where the new record high of 113°F (45°C) on Thursday surpassed the old 2016 high of 111°F (44°C), called conditions “dangerously hot.”

There were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries due to the heat.

But at a campaign rally for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Phoenix, 11 people fell ill with heat exhaustion late in the afternoon and were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released, fire officials said.

And in Las Vegas, with a new record of 111 F (43.8 C) Thursday, which also tied the earliest time of the year, the maximum temperature reached at least 110 (43.3 C), the Clark County Fire Department said that it had responded to at least 12 calls for heat exposure since midnight Wednesday. Nine of those calls resulted in a patient requiring hospital treatment.

Several other areas in Arizona, California and Nevada also broke records by a degree or two, including Death Valley National Park with a record high for the date of 122°F (50°C), up from 1996’s 121°F (49.4°C). in the United States. desert that lies 59 meters below sea level near the California-Nevada line. The data there dates from 1911.

The heat has arrived weeks earlier than normal, even in places further north and at higher altitudes – areas that are typically a dozen degrees cooler. That includes Reno, where the normal high of 81°F (27°C) for this time of year rose to a record 98°F (37°C) on Thursday. Records there date back to 1888.

The National Weather Service predicts mild cooling across the region this weekend, but only a few degrees. In central and southern Arizona, that still means triple-digit highs, even up to 110°F (43°C).

Thursday in Phoenix, unseasonably warm weather didn’t stop Oscar Tomasio of Cleveland, Ohio, from proposing to his girlfriend, Megan McCracken, as they walked to the top of a trail on Camelback Mountain with three gallons of water each in tow.

“It was a grueling walk,” Tomasio told The Associated Press. “It was extra warm, so we started extra early.”

“The views were beautiful. “We didn’t make it all the way to the top because she was a little nervous about the heat,” he said. “So I asked her to marry me when the sun came up.”

McCracken confirmed they had planned a sunrise hike and woke up around 5 a.m. in an attempt to beat the heat and the impending trail closure.

“Probably not early enough,” she said.

Megan Wallace, mother of the birthday boy from Utah who also came to pack water bottles, said: “We started just a few minutes after six and it was like we were prepared, but we had finished all our water and it was hot – it was even hotter . than we are used to.”

Associated Press writers Anita Snow and Ty O’Neil in Phoenix, and Rio Yamat and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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