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Dangerous heat blasting Arizona into weekend

Temperatures across Arizona are continuing to set records, with some areas blistering under temperatures of 120 degrees. The Tucson area will remain under an excessive heat warning until Saturday night, with National Weather Service officials cautioning about "brutally hot" days.

Tuesday, Tucson set a record for the date with a high of 115 — just two degrees shy of the all-time record.

An excessive heat warning will be in effect through late Saturday night for Tucson and much of Southern Arizona, with highs of up to 116 degrees possible, while the Phoenix metro area and western deserts may endure even higher temperatures, National Weather Service officials said.

Tucson and a stretch of Baja Arizona from Green Valley to Picacho Peak, from Safford to the east and west to Ajo, Sells and Organ Pipe National Monument, will see "dangerously hot conditions" with afternoon temperatures from 109-116 degrees Sunday.

Around Phoenix, and stretching west to Gila Bend and beyond, thermometers could show 118 degrees. Yuma could see temperatures top out at 121 during the afternoons through Saturday.

Temperatures across the state will be about 10 degrees hotter than normal, forecasters said.

"Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities," officials said. "Keep in mind you may need to adjust your plans based on the latest health and safety guidelines from CDC and your local officials. Cooling shelters may need to take your temperature or ask questions about how you are feeling."

From the Weather Service:

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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 in under an hour even with the windows open.

The spike in temperatures comes after a relatively mild period in Tucson. Only twice in May did the recorded high temperature here reach 100 degrees, with a handful of days only seeing highs in the 80s. To start June, nearly every day was 100-102 degrees, before the heat wave began last weekend. Starting last Saturday, the afternoon high has been at least 110 degrees.

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