For days, the Southwest has sweltered in temperatures well above 100 degrees in some areas, and the heat wave has taken its toll on millions. Power grids have been stressed, flights have been grounded and wildfires have grown rapidly. At least five people have died.
(MORE: It's So Hot in Phoenix, Some Planes Can't Fly)
- A Texas man and his son reported missing were found dead Tuesday in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, where temperatures have surpassed 100 degrees, NBC News reports. Robert Stuart Pita, 57, and his son Bobby, 21, had been on a hiking trip since Wednesday of last week but had not been heard from since checking into their hotel. Authorities say the heat was likely a factor in the deaths.
- In San Jose, California, a 72-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman died Monday. Temperatures reached 94 degrees, and one of the victims was homeless and lived in a car, police told the Associated Press.
- A California man, identified by the Bakersfield Californian as Benjamin R. Greene, died while running a 5k in 107-degree heat at a Bakersfield park Tuesday night.
- Arizona Public Service Company, the largest electricity provider in Arizona, said temperatures near 120 degrees in Phoenix led customers to set a new peak usage record. Between 5 and 6 p.m. local time Tuesday evening, over 7,300 megawatts of energy were consumed. This breaks a record that stood for 11 years.
- Two firefighters in California had to be treated for heat-related injuries. In New Mexico, a brush fire destroyed sheds and cars. Two residents and a firefighter were sent to the hospital with minor injuries and smoke inhalation.
- South of Tucson, blazing temperatures helped fuel a wildfire that destroyed six structures. More than 100 homes in total were threatened by the inferno that started Tuesday.
- Heat was blamed for warping train tracks that caused a derailment near Earlimart, California. Nineteen cars derailed Tuesday, but nobody was injured, according to KMPH.com.
- In Las Cruces, New Mexico, officials temporarily opened several "cooling stations" for residents to get out of the heat and find relief.
- About 50 people received elastic booties for their pets at a Phoenix-area PetSmart to keep the animals' paws from burning on the pavement.
- In Central California, residents along the swollen Kings River were urged to evacuate as warm weather quickly melted some of the winter's massive snowpack.
- As far north as San Francisco, residents were advised to avoid strenuous activities in the heat, if possible, and don't leave kids or pets in vehicles.
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