Tucson hit 115 degrees at the airport Monday, which tied the record set on that date in 2016, according to the National Weather Service.
The thermometer rose to 115 degrees at 3:43 p.m. The high was the third hottest ever in Tucson, said Jordan Pegram, a meteorologist with the weather service.
The hottest day ever recorded in Tucson was 117 degrees on June 26, 1990; the second hottest was 116 on June 29, 1994.
The heat was aggressive, with 110 degrees reached at 12:25 p.m. The last time it hit 110 degrees was June 4, 2016.
There were 13 heat-related calls paramedics responded to starting shortly after 2 p.m., said Capt. Andy Skaggs, a Tucson Fire Department spokesman.
“These were people from all walks of life,” said Skaggs, adding that none needed to be taken to a hospital by paramedics.
In two of the calls, Skaggs said paramedics attended to people who were outdoors and then felt nauseous and weak after going indoors. The other call dealt with a motorist whose vehicle broke down, and the motorist was overcome by heat while waiting for help sitting inside the vehicle.
Skaggs reminded folks to drink plenty of water.
“If you do not need to go outside, then don’t. If you do, wear a wide brim hat and sunscreen,” Skaggs said.
“Try to be out for only 20 minutes at a time and try to cool down with a wet towel or washcloth on your head and neck,” said the fire captain.
On Tuesday, it is predicted to hit 114 degrees, said Pegram. And on Wednesday the high is expected to reach 113 degrees. If those highs are met, they would break the heat records for those dates.
In Phoenix, high temperatures could top 120 degrees this week. It reached 118 there Monday.
Much of the Tucson region remains under an excessive heat warning through Saturday night. The warning means prolonged periods of extremely hot temperatures will exist.
Helping the homeless
The Salvation Army’s “Operation Chill Out” is in effect during these scorching temperatures. Volunteers distribute water, sun screen, hats, umbrellas and other supplies anytime the temperature reaches 102 or higher to the homeless at Santa Rita Park, 401 E. 22nd St., and De Anza Park, 1000 N. Stone Ave.
Zoo closing early
The Reid Park Zoo is closing early all week because of concern over the well-being of its animals during Tucson’s heat wave.
“The animals at Reid Park Zoo are well adapted for the Sonoran Desert climate. Habitats are designed with mud wallows, misting, coolers, shade and pools,” according to a zoo Facebook post.
Zoo staff members will concentrate on caring for several elderly animals with special needs.
The zoo will close at noon through Friday, three hours earlier than usual. It opens at 8 a.m.
The zoo expects to return Saturday to its regular summer hours, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The zoo’s Summer Safari Nights, held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday nights until August 4, is not expected to be affected by the shortened hours this week, a spokeswoman said.
Officials said ozone levels in the Tucson area will be elevated during the next few days because of the expected record high temperatures.
The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality advisory for ground-level air pollution.
Individuals who are especially sensitive to air pollution may experience shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing and breathing discomfort, the department said Monday in a new release.
If sensitive to ozone, individuals may want to limit their outside exertion until after 6 p.m. when levels of ozone pollution should begin to decrease.
Ground-level ozone can be caused by vehicle exhaust, industrial plant emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents and wildfires.
Some flights canceled
American Airlines has canceled 20 regional flights scheduled for Tuesday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport because of excessive heat that could affect aircraft performance.
That could affect some Tucsonans planning to fly from Phoenix, but there have been no heat-related flight cancellations at Tucson International Airport and none are expected.
Over the weekend, American sent notices to passengers booked on Phoenix flights from Monday through Wednesday, warning them it may have to ground flights.
American is letting Phoenix passengers flying during the peak heat period between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to change flights without a fee.
The affected Tuesday flights are American Eagle routes operated by Mesa Airlines and SkyWest Airlines, which fly Bombardier regional CJR airliners that are most affected by excessive heat.
Tuesday’s canceled flights include both departures and arrivals.
The Tucson airport has no record of heat-related flight cancellations and has heard nothing regarding any possible cancellations of Tucson flights during the current heat wave, TIA spokesman David Hatfield said, noting that individual airlines make those decisions.
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.