PHOENIX – We’re looking at the hottest week of the summer so far as high pressure builds across the desert southwest, resulting in drier conditions and a steady warming trend.
Temperatures are expected to peak Wednesday and Thursday with the mercury in the low deserts climbing above 110 degrees to as high as 115 in some areas.
3TV meteorologist Kim Quintero is forecasting 114 degrees in Phoenix both days.
Flirting with record territory, those are the highest temperatures we’ve seen all year. The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for those two days. The watch covers Maricopa County, including the Phoenix metro area, and northern Pinal County.
Such extreme heat brings with it a unique set of dangers, including an increased possibility of dehydration.
Earlier this month, the Phoenix Fire Department said it had seen a significant increase in the number of mountain rescue calls this year. There were nearly 180 calls in the first six months of 2014. "Our TRT, or technical rescue teams, have been exceptionally busy this season," Phoenix Fire Captain Benjamin Santillan told 3TV’s Amanda Goodman.
Rescue crews were called out to Echo Canyon once again Sunday, this time for a dehydrated hiker on the Cholla Trail.
"This time of year, we all know it gets really hot. A lot of times, people don't wear the right footwear, they certainly don't bring enough water, and they really don't anticipate the difficulties in the mountains in the summertime here in Phoenix," Phoenix Fire Capt. Tom McCracken said. "Any time you're hiking and you get into trouble, the best thing to do is call for help."
Firefighters say you also should limit your outdoor activities during the heat of the day when you can.
"Get your activities done early when it's still reasonably cool outside,” Rick Bucher of the Scottsdale Fire Department said. “For me personally, anything after 10:00, it’s just too darn hot to be out there. Going out that late takes away from your margin for error.”
And that margin for error is slim. Dehydration can escalate to potentially deadly heat-related illness extremely quickly.
The best thing you can do is make sure you are well-hydrated, which means drinking plenty of water -- probably more than you think you need. If you feel thirsty, your body is already low on water.
“Be on alert about this heat,” Quintero warned. “Take extra care of yourself, your kids, your elderly neighbors, your pets. You definitely don’t want to be outside in this Wednesday and Thursday.”
So far this year, we've only seen four days with highs of 110 degrees or higher.