PHOENIX — Arizonans usually just shrug when the mercury climbs beyond 100 degrees and the breeze feels like a giant hair dryer pointed at your face. But lately, even the most seasoned desert dwellers are complaining about the blowtorch heat.
Temperatures have been above average every day since June 29 in Phoenix, where the normal high in the middle of July is a sizzling 107.
“This has gone on a little too long,” said Joe Della Rocca, a 41-year-old Arizona native. “All I know is, Vancouver sounds fabulous right now.”
The city hit 116 degrees on Sunday, two degrees above the old record for the date, set in 1936. Phoenix was almost mild compared with the Colorado River Valley, where Bullhead City reached 124 on Sunday and Needles, Calif., hit 125.
Even nighttime readings were no comfort over the weekend. The low on Monday morning was 91 degrees in Phoenix; the high was 113.
“At the heat of the day, at 2 p.m., almost the whole town is dead,” said Yvonne Morales, owner of the Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors in Bullhead City, across the Colorado River from the air-conditioned casinos of Laughlin, Nev. “The streets are pretty bare because you’re insane to come out in this.”
Last week, at the urging of a radio station in Chicago, Morales put a scoop of ice cream on a sidewalk to see how long it would take to melt. It took just 8 seconds for the scoop to turn to goo.
The disc jockeys in Chicago “were laughing at us,” she said.
Police in Phoenix got reports of seven possible heat-related deaths during the weekend, said Sgt. Randy Force. Six of the victims were homeless, and the seventh was an 81-year-old woman. Phoenix usually has five to 10 deaths in a whole year, he said.
The city should see “a little cooling” Tuesday, when the high is forecast at 113, the weather service said.
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