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Las Vegas logs another record-high but weeklong heat wave losing grip on US Southwest

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — Las Vegas set a new record high again on Friday and Albuquerque tied its high mark, but forecasters said the weeklong heat wave that baked most of the U.S. Southwest earlier than usual in temperatures well into triple digits was on its last legs.

Slightly cooler weather was expected through the weekend, but the National Weather Service warned it will be short-lived relief before the unseasonably hot weather returns next week.

Excessive heat warnings finally expired Friday evening across most of the Southwest, but continue through Saturday in Las Vegas, where its never been hotter this time of year.

“The heat wave will lose its grip on our region by Saturday evening,” the National Weather Service in Las Vegas said late Friday.

The new weather pattern should lead to “increased cloud cover and slightly cooler temperatures into early next week,” the weather service in Phoenix said. But “temperatures heat up again for the middle of next week as high pressure builds over the region.”

The high of 110 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) in Las Vegas on Friday edged the old record of 109 F (42.7 C) set in 2013. Thursday’s record high of 111 (43.8 C) equaled the earliest time of the year on record that it had reached 110 or hotter. Temperatures should be 5 to 8 degrees cooler by Sunday in Las Vegas, the weather service said.

Albuquerque, where the normal high this time of year is 89 F (31.7 C), tied the record Friday of 100 F (37.7 C) set in 1981.

In Phoenix, the high Friday topped out at 113 F (45 C) for the second day in a row, but was 2 degrees shy of the daily record. The normal high in Phoenix for this time of year is 102 F (38.8 C).

Death Valley National Park near the California line reached 118 F (47.7 C) on Friday, but that too was well short of the daily record of 123 F ( C) after reaching a record 122 F (50 C) on Thursday.

The heat arrived weeks earlier than usual even in places farther to the north at higher elevations — areas typically a dozen degrees cooler. That includes Reno, where the normal high of 81 F (27 C) for this time of year soared to a record 98 F (37 C) on Thursday and hit 98 F again Friday but was short of the daily record 100 F (37.7 C).

There have been no reports of any heat-related deaths or serious injuries in the Southwest, but a 68-year-old man was hospitalized in stable condition in Phoenix on Friday after he was overcome with heat exhaustion while hiking on a mountain trail and rescued by fire crews.

On Thursday at a campaign rally for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Phoenix, 11 people fell ill from heat exhaustion were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released, fire officials said. Trump is scheduled to hold another rally Sunday at a park in Las Vegas, where the high that day is expected to reach 104 F (40 C).

In Las Vegas, the Clark County Fire Department said Friday it had logged 20 calls classified as heat exposure since midnight Wednesday, resulting in 12 transports to local hospitals. That included eight calls and three transports on Friday.

Other highs on Friday in California included Needles 110 F (43.3 C) and Palm Springs 109 F (42.7 C). In Arizona, Tucson, Yuma and Bullhead City all topped out at 109 F (42.7 C). It was 107 F (41.6 C) in El Paso, Texas.

Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric science at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas said on Friday that people better get used to it.

“Climate change is making everything hotter,” he said. “This is the new normal. It’s not just about this summer. It’s about every summer for the rest of your lives is going to be hot.”

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Associated Press writers Anita Snow and Ty O’Neil in Phoenix, Rio Yamat in Las Vegas, and MK Wildeman in Hartford, Connecticut, contributed to this report.

By SCOTT SONNER
Associated Press

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