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'Dangerous' heat warning for Tucson, western Pima County for Thurs-Sun
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'Dangerous' heat warning for Tucson, western Pima County for Thurs-Sun

Parts of Southern Arizona could see "dangerously hot" temperatures as high as 114 degrees toward the end of the week, particularly on the Tohono O'odham Nation and the western deserts, with sweltering highs in Tucson and the metro area as well.

The weather forecast is "not your typical desert heat," National Weather Service officials said, with "high temperatures challenging daily records."

The "hottest temperatures so far this year are expected," they said. "No significant cooldown overnight" is expected during the "four straight days of extreme heat."

An excessive heat warning — a change from the heat watch issued Monday, as NWS has become more confident in the forecast for blazing temperatures — will be in effect from Thursday morning through Sunday evening. Highs above the century mark are possible for an area including western Pima County and the Tohono O'odham Nation, including Sells and Ajo, as well as much of Pinal County, the Phoenix metro area, and Arizona's western deserts stretching to Yuma and beyond to the California desert, Weather Service officials said.

Nearer Tucson, the warning covers Green Valley, Sahaurita, Vail, Marana and Oro Valley, as well as Nogales, and the Safford area.

"Temperatures will remain on an upward trend all week with max temps challenging daily records late this week and this weekend," officials said. "Virga showers and dry lightning will pose fire weather concerns with potential new fire starts and gusty, erratic winds."

"Saturday and Sunday look to be the hottest days," NWS said. The highest temperatures are likely in the lower deserts west of Tucson, with thermometers in the city likely to read 107-109 degrees between Thursday and Sunday.

High temperatures across Southern Arizona will range from 106 to 114 degrees, and the "extreme heat and humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses," forecasters cautioned. "Those with outdoor plans this week should plan ahead to bring plenty of water, dress in light, loose- fitting clothing, and take frequent breaks. If possible, move outdoor activities to the early morning or evening hours."

"Be prepared to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes," officials cautioned.

"Isolated storms will be possible Wednesday through the end of the week east and south of Tucson," NWS said.

From the Weather Service:

An Excessive Heat Watch means that a period of very hot temperatures, even by local standards, will occur. Actions should be taken to lessen the impact of the extreme heat.

Stay indoors and seek air-conditioned buildings. Drink water, more than usual, and avoid dehydrating alcoholic, sugary, or caffeinated drinks. Dress for the heat — lightweight and light-colored clothing. Eat small meals and eat more often. Monitor those with a higher vulnerability to heat, including small children. Check in on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly. If engaging in outdoor activity, take longer and more frequent breaks and avoid the hottest parts of the day. Never leave kids or pets unattended in cars.

Public cooling shelters are available in some areas. Consult county officials for more details, which may include guidance for proper social distancing measures.

Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. Early signs include thirst and muscle cramps. Heat exhaustion may include: cool, moist, pale skin; headache; dizziness; weakness or exhaustion; nausea. The most serious illness is heat stroke, which may include: vomiting; confusion; throbbing headache; decreased alertness or loss of consciousness; high body temperature (above 105F); hot, dry skin; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; seizures. Heat stroke can be DEADLY. Treat as an emergency and call 911.

Researchers at San Francisco State University conducted a study in 2003 that showed that the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to 114 degrees on a 95-degree day, and will rapidly rise to 140 degrees in under an hour even with the windows open.

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