The National Weather Service said the Valley of the Sun topped out at 117 degrees, beating the old record of 115 that was set in 1968 and matched in 2008. The NWS predicts that temperatures will reach 116 degrees on Wednesday. Even in typically cooler San Francisco, residents are baking during 88-degree days early this week. During extremely hot temperatures, the air gets thinner.
The last time the city reached 120 was in 1995.
American Airlines (AAL) has canceled more than 40 flights out of Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix on Tuesday because of the extreme heat.
The severe heat has canceled flights out of Phoenix and has been blamed for buckling roads, raging fires, and power outages in California, the nation’s most populous state.
The canceled flights are part of the airline’s regional flight system, and are operated by other carriers that use Bombardier aircraft, which are not permitted to fly when temperatures exceeding 118 degrees, American Airlines said.
Larger planes made by Boeing and Airbus have maximum operating temperatures of 126 and 127 degrees, respectively. As temperatures increase, a plane needs more speed to lift off and certain runways might not be long enough to allow for such speed to be reached, according to the Arizona Republic.
“Many of our patients that are coming in unfortunately don’t have any place to go”, she said.
Extreme heat creates changes in the air density that make it harder for airplanes to take off. Airlines respond by imposing weight restrictions, such as carrying less cargo and fuel, in some cases, they will ground flights during peak heat.
The hot conditions are labeled as a classic pre-monsoon heat event for the Southwest region and not a particular climactic phenomenon, NWS said. In June 1990, temperatures hit 120 at the Phoenix airport. This dome heats sinking air as it pushes it down – like a pressure cooker.
According to Aljazeera, the overnight temperatures won’t drop like normal, leading to heat-related illnesses.
Authorities say people should avoid the outdoors and be in air-conditioned buildings during the heat wave.