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How the Heat Can Impact Flights

28 June 2017

The first day of summer broughtsome of the worst heat the south-west United States has seen in years, forcing flights to be canceled, straining the power grid and making life miserable for workers toiling in temperatures that could reach 120F in Phoenix.

The south-western U.S. is braced for some of the worst heat it has seen in years.

SRP predicts it will likely reach a new peak demand Tuesday as temperatures continue to rise and forecasts expect a high of 120 degrees in Phoenix.

American Airlines added that the National Weather Service forcast for Wednesday (21 June) put the highest temperature below the CRJ's maximum operating temperature.

During a heat wave the body has to work harder to maintain a normal body temperature.

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The heat has led to electricity outages in several parts of California, as more people turn on air conditioners to battle the heat, overtaxing the power system. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning and its Phoenix office has said "heat of this magnitude is rare, risky and very possibly deadly". And Wednesday's expected high of 117 degrees promises little relief.

The city's all-time high is 122 degrees Fahrenheit, which happened back in June 1990.

More than 40 flights have been canceled in Phoenix, as the "extreme heat" is making planes too hot to fly. Seven flights were also canceled Monday, all between Phoenix and Tucson.

The flights affected by the heat tend to be on smaller regional carriers, which use planes that operate under lower maximum temperatures.

Bigger aircraft like Boeing 747s and Airbus models have a slightly higher operating temperature, and have not been affected by the heat in Phoenix.

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American Airlines canceled 20 regional flights out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Tuesday after temperatures in the desert city soared toward 120 degrees F (49 C). They can lighten the plane's load by selling fewer seats - a tactic American Airlines is using in the Phoenix heat wave - or reducing cargo.

Death Valley, California, reached 53 C Tuesday and Palm Springs hit 50 C, tying the temperature for the same day a year ago.

Meteorologists said Tuesday's temperature in Phoenix topped out at 48 C, a mark that's only been matched or surpassed four other times in the city's recorded history.

If a plane does try to take off beyond its temperature threshold, it may keep racing down the runway and not get up in time and have to abort. Today's heat wave is expected to break by Sunday, when the valley of the sun returns to a normal 105 degrees.

The Bakersfield Californian reports ( ) that Benjamin R. Greene collapsed Tuesday evening shortly after running the race in 107-degree heat at a Bakersfield park.

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Temperatures were expected to drop by five to 10 degrees later in the week, the NWS said.

How the Heat Can Impact Flights