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'Extreme' heat warning for Tucson, western Pima County for Thursday

Parts of Southern Arizona will again see "dangerously hot" temperatures as high as 113 degrees on Thursday, particularly on the Tohono O'odham Nation and the western deserts, with blistering highs in Tucson and the metro area as well.

The weather forecast is "potentially the highest level of the year for many locations," National Weather Service officials said in issuing an "excessive heat warning" in effect from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Monsoon moisture will move in later in the evening, with temperatures over the weekend "cooling back to near normal" and a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms across the region.

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.

In Tucson, temperatures may top out at 112 degrees on Thursday.

The warning also covers Green Valley, Sahaurita, Vail, Marana and Oro Valley, as well as Nogales, Sierra Vista and Benson, and the Safford area.

"Thursday will be a transition day where temperatures will peak at potentially the highest level of the year for many locations, primarily central and western parts of the forecast area," NWS said. "South to southeast flow will develop which will begin to usher in tropical moisture, first at the mid levels late in the day then mixing down to the surface late Thursday night into Friday. The moisture looks to arrive early enough to bring about a slight chance for late day thunderstorms to eastern areas and then primarily over the mountains."

"Friday onward through the weekend we will have daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms across parts of Arizona and in typical monsoon fashion each day will be somewhat affected by what happens the previous day,' NWS said. "This moisture and the resultant precipitation will help to lower temperatures back to or a bit below seasonal norms this weekend. Nice to see moisture headed our way!"

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"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.

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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