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Even for Phoenix, This Summer Heat Is Too Much

July 26, 2003|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — It's so hot here windshields are shattering or falling out, dogs are burning their paws on the pavement, and candles are melting indoors.

People who live in the Valley of the Sun don't usually sweat the summer heat. But this July is off the charts.

With the average high for the first three weeks of July at 110 degrees, Phoenix is on track to have the hottest July since the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1896. The average July high is 104.

"Being in this heat is like walking through the hot lamps they use to bake on a car's paint," said Roger Janusz, who was walking laps inside a mall, instead of outdoors, Thursday morning.

The low temperature on July 15 was 96 degrees, a record for the date. The high on July 16 was 117, making it the hottest day so far this year.

Leslie Wanek, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said the above-normal temperatures are a result of a strong high-pressure system over the western United States, a late start to the summer rains and the heat-retaining effects of asphalt and concrete in this fast-growing metropolis of about 3 million.

It's so hot that heat waves are creating turbulence for airplanes overhead, said Deborah Ostreicher, a spokeswoman for Sky Harbor International Airport.

The pavement is so hot it is burning the pads on dogs' paws and causing them to suffer heat stroke. Susan Prosse, hospital manager at University Animal Hospital, said that when the pavement burns dogs' pads, they start dancing around. Some pet owners put booties on their dogs for protection.

Floral designer Brenda Zamora said her bouquets are dying in the delivery trucks en route to their destinations. "This heat is not good for people, pets, flowers -- anything," she said.

It is especially hard on the sick and elderly.

Dr. Donald Lauer of Phoenix has seen an increase in people with heat-related ailments this July. He said recently that when the air conditioning broke in an elderly woman's motor home, she suffered heat stroke, passed out and ran off the road. She was not seriously hurt.

Cars don't handle the heat well, either.

Terry Tapp, owner of an upholstery repair shop, said some windshields shatter when the heat causes them to expand. Others fall out when the glue holding them in place separates.

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