Arizona's hot, but this August's a record- breaker

PHOENIX — Few would describe summer in Phoenix as pleasant, but this month is turning out to be particularly miserable as it teeters on the brink of becoming the hottest August in the city's recorded history.

The city broke records for daytime highs on Monday and Tuesday, which reached 114 degrees. That's 10 degrees hotter than the average high for this time of year, and another record-breaker could come today.

"It would be difficult not to break it at this point," Chris Kuhlman, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said. "So far, we're a degree above the hottest one."

The weather has led to an increased number of reports of heat-related illness, said Jorge Enriquez, a fire department spokesman. The department has seen a 33 percent increase, from 527 last year to 703 heat-related incidents so far this year, he said. In the past two days, 30 heat-related incidents were reported, Enriquez added.

The heat is brutal on the city's homeless population, some of whom have been found dead in the streets.

Extremely hot summers can also lead to more scorpion stings as the desert critters crawl indoors to escape the heat. The Banner Poison and Drug Center in Phoenix reported Tuesday that its phones were "ringing off the hook."

More than 70 people called within one 24-hour period ending Wednesday seeking medical advice after being stung by scorpions, the center said. Scorpion stings can cause nausea, vomiting, slurred speech and blurred vision, and are most dangerous for children. Deaths are rare.

In the southern part of the state, near the U.S. border with Mexico, the heat is deadly for illegal immigrants trying to get into the country.

At least 110 people have died crossing the Arizona desert so far this year, with the vast majority caused by the heat, said Gregory Hess, chief medical examiner at the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office in Tucson.