Environment

It's So Extremely Hot That Things Are Melting in Arizona

It's so hot in Arizona right now - even for a state so familiar with sweltering heat.

Last week, the scorching temperatures forced dozens of flights to be canceled at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, as the city suffered 120-degree weather. On Wednesday, the Weather Channel predicted a high of 109-degrees with zero chance of precipitation. Friday could get as high as 112 degrees. Arizona isn't the only victim of the heat wave; much of the Southwest has been torched, as well.

To show just how hot it's been, people in Arizona are posting pictures on social media of stuff that they see that has melted likely as a result of the extreme heat, including street signs, ceiling fans, mailboxes, trash cans and even cactuses.

Even temperature maps are having a hard time sustaining themselves given the blazing temperatures in Arizona.

One Twitter user posted a picture of himself driving with mittens on to prevent burning his hands on his hot steering wheel.

The governor of Arizona declared a state of emergency last week to garner resources to keep residents safe and fight fires sparked by the heat.

Officials in Arizona are investigating about 12 deaths in the Phoenix metro area that could be tied to the extreme heat, the Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

Last year, 130 people died from extreme heat in the city, which was the most in the past decade.

The New York Times reported that the heat has contributed to natural disasters like wildfires, and spoke with Arizona State University professor David Sailor, who warned that climate change could make heat waves like this more common:

“When you have these heat waves, the residents in the area of course are using more air-conditioning than they would otherwise,” he said. “So there’s a lot more waste heat being dumped into the environment from their attempts to keep their buildings cool. That creates a kind of positive feedback loop between local heat and global climate change.”

The American Red Cross website lists some useful tips on how to stay safe during a heat wave:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.

You should also keep an eye out for others who might suffer in the heat.

The Red Cross says that during a heat wave people should make sure children and pets aren't left alone in enclosed vehicles, and keep tabs on family, friends and neighbors without air conditioning or those who might be particularly affected by the heat.