Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Extreme heatwave brings danger to people, pets across Southwestern states

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 28th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The western U.S. is bracing for a tremendous heat wave that may break records, and push temperatures in places such as Death Valley to 128 degrees. Las Vegas is anticipating breaking its all-time high. The heat will prove dangerous, even long after it fades.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A dangerous heatwave will strike the western states this weekend and extend into next week with temperatures spiking in the one-hundred-teens across most of the region.

Humidity will also be present, making the heat virtually unbearable for many and forcing those normally accustomed to the dry heat of California to retreat indoors. Those working outdoors will need to take great precautions, or stop work altogether.

A strong ridge of high pressure has built up over the southwestern U.S. and will superheat the air from inland California across to Idaho, Utah, and Texas.

The San Joaquin Valley in California will see record-breaking highs with temperatures in Fresno and Bakersfield ranging from 107 to 111 degrees. Valley residents are accustomed to such weather, and often have access to air conditioning, however the region's large numbers of agricultural workers will face dangerous working conditions.

Further south in Los Angeles, temperatures will reach into the low to mid 90s, which is hot for the area, but not as dangerous.

The remainder of the west however, will face dangerous conditions.  Boise, Idaho may reach an astounding 111 degrees on Tuesday. Las Vegas will match its highest-ever recorded temperature of 117 degrees on Saturday. Temperatures will remain over the century-mark for the next ten days or more.

Below sea level, Death Valley is expected to record 128 degrees on thermometers there. The low elevation of the desert adds to the heat because air warms as it falls.

Overnight lows in many areas will remain in the low 80s, giving very little relief to people overnight.

Extreme heat is a danger for many reasons. The poor and elderly may not have the means to enjoy adequate air conditioning, so people in those categories are inherently endangered with the elderly facing the most serious risk.

The homeless may not be able to shelter against the extreme heat. Perhaps even worse off will be those who must work outdoors, with little shade or shelter. For these workers, the hazards of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and stroke are the greatest.

Extreme heatwaves also dry out vegetation creating kindling for brush fires that in parts of the southwest can rage out of control for weeks and are a perpetual threat to rural areas and suburban neighborhoods.

Most residents of the southwest are accustomed to heatwaves and can handle the normal summertime highs that hover around a hundred degrees during summer months, after all, it's usually a dry heat. Yet, spikes that reach above the century mark become hazardous.

To get a sense of what the dry heat of the west is like, one has only to open their oven while baking. The same sensation is what greets many when they open their doors.

Officials also warn that pets can be endangered in the hot weather. Many pets are as unaccustomed to extreme heat as their owners and need extra attention during spikes. It is suggested that pets be brought indoors if possible, and given ample shade and water if not. Owners should keep an eye on outdoor pets and should refrain from exercising them during the hottest parts of the day. Dogs should not be walked on hot pavement as that can burn the pads of their feet, and they cannot complain to warn you.

Needless to say, the beaches in California are expected to be full. Temperatures there will spike in the mid-80s to mid-70s farther south.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)