Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blasting heat keeps hold on Western states

Sharon Bernstein and Alexia Shurmur in Reuters: A heat wave scorching the Western United States fueled lightning-sparked fires in several states and pushed temperatures well above normal on Monday in typically cooler regions such as Seattle and parts of the Rocky Mountains.

In Arizona, the weather cooled off slightly - to 111 degrees (44 C) on Monday from 115 (46 C) the day before. But a wildfire that killed 19 firefighters on Sunday raged unchecked, engulfing 8,400 acres of tinder-dry chaparral and grasslands.

In Boise, Idaho, where a ridge of high pressure air pushed thermometers as high as 107 degrees F (41 C), grazing cattle clustered together under trees for shade, and teenagers sought solace in mountain streams.

"People are sweating, about to pass out, but they're still walking around," said Jordan Edwards, a college student who was making money selling bottled water to tourists in Las Vegas, where an elderly man died over the weekend in a house that had no air conditioning.

The heat topped 110 degrees (43 C) in the desert city on Monday, prompting 15 calls to the city's emergency system for heat-related issues, and sending four people to the hospital, said Timothy Szymanski, public information officer at Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.

...California's power grid operator on Monday issued a rare plea for customers in the north of the state to conserve energy over the next few days. The California Independent System Operator, which operates the grid in most of California and parts of Nevada, said it was anticipating that a spike in air-conditioner usage would add to typical demand....

At Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, shot by Reinhard Jahn, Mannheim, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license

No comments: