LAS VEGAS — Desert dwellers in the western U.S. see temperatures topping 120 degrees as a reason to hunker down indoors and turn up the air conditioning.
But some tourists welcome it as a bucket-list opportunity to experience Death Valley — the hottest place in America. Many will get their chance to do just that in the days ahead as a vicious heatwave bakes parts of Arizona, California and Nevada.
Death Valley National Park is expected to reach its first 120-degree day of the year on Sunday, and temperatures could creep toward 124 by Tuesday as the sweltering system envelopes much of the region.
Officials also warned of excessive heat across southern portions of Arizona and Nevada, and throughout California’s Central Valley.
The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning or a Heat Advisory through Thursday for the entire state of Arizona, CBS affiliate KPHO reports.
The station recommends that the public:
- Limit outdoor activity to early morning or late evening hours.
- Drink more water than usual.
- Check on elderly family and small children for any signs of heat-related illnesses.
- Make sure pets have a cool place with water.
“There’s very few places on Earth to go to experience those temperatures and Death Valley is one of those,” said John Adair, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
Business booms as temperatures soar in July and August at Panamint Springs Resort, near the entrance of Death Valley National Park.
“When it’s 120 to 125 (degrees), there’s more customers than there ever is,” said Mike Orozco, who works at the resort that includes a restaurant, gas station, camp sites and cabins.
Orozco said locals jokingly refer to the summer spike as “European season,” when a flood of tourists from Germany, France, Sweden and other places arrive in Death Valley to experience heat…