Heat continues to build in Pahrump region

Residents of Southern Nevada can expect higher than average temperatures into next week.

Alex Boothe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, said triple-digit temperatures will continue until Tuesday when temperatures drop down to a balmy 109 degrees.

“Right now we are forecasting this heat wave to last through early next week,” he said. “On Tuesday we will start to come down a little bit below 110 degrees. We are expecting for at least the next five to six days to be still pretty hot with little relief overnight. There will be above- average temperatures pretty much across our entire area, including Death Valley and Pahrump.”

Boothe noted that the average temperature for this time of year hovers around 100 to 102 degrees.

“But we will still be about seven degrees above normal on Tuesday,” he said. “It will be a little bit more relief compared to Tuesday and Wednesday of this week where we saw temperatures of 116 and 117 degrees.”

Record high temperatures

Boothe also noted that two all-time high temperatures were broken this week in the region.

“As far as any records being broken, Las Vegas has tied our all-time high record of 117 on Tuesday,” he said. “Also on Tuesday, Death Valley actually broke a record high temperature for that day. Last year, the record was set at 126 degrees, and on Tuesday they broke that record with 127 degrees. Kingman, Arizona also broke a record on Tuesday, coming in at 113 degrees. It was previously set back in 2016, at 111 degrees.”

Boothe also said the current heat wave is substantial in terms of longevity.

“The last big one we had was back in 2013,” he said. “Actually last year, around the same time, we had a pretty good heat wave but it’s not as strong as the current one we are experiencing. In meteorological terms, we can attribute this current heat wave to a dominant upper-level ridge, and this ridge is kind of building a high-pressure loft.”

It’s a ‘dry heat’

Adding to the oppressive heat, Boothe noted, was a lack of moisture in the air.

“It is also very dry, but when monsoon moisture starts to get pulled in, it will cool down a little bit in July,” he said. “Right now this is kind of our drier, in-between time, where we are getting the summertime heat, without much of that moisture coming in to alleviate some of that heat and take it out of the air.”

Supplier meeting the demand

In spite of the oppressive heat wave, it appears Valley Electric Association (VEA) is meeting the demand of power usage among the valley’s homes and businesses.

“We have not had any issues meeting the supply demands of our members and have adequate power available during the high demand,” said Angela Evans, executive vice president of operations for Valley Electric Association, Inc.

Evans also noted that VEA experiences peak power usage during the coldest and hottest times of the year.

“We have a peak usually in January because we do not have natural gas for heating in the areas VEA serves, most of our members use electric heat,” Evans said. “Winter peak is usually in the early morning. Summer peak usually happens in late June or early July. The peak time of day is usually the middle of the afternoon during the hottest time of day.”

Additionally, Evans offered some tips on how to conserve energy during this month’s heat wave.

“Members should set their air-conditioning thermostat at 78 to 80 degrees, you can also help to cool homes with fans and draw drapes and turn off unnecessary lights and appliances,” she said. “If you must be out in the heat, drink plenty of water, rest and take advantage of shade.”

Cooling the masses

Despite the discomfort the scorching heat is bringing to area residents, local air-conditioning companies are experiencing a big boost in business.

On Wednesday, John Benedict, service manager for Pahrump’s JonAire Heating and Cooling said crews are working around the clock just to keep up with requests for service throughout the valley.

“We have seen a big increase in service calls, so we are booked for two solid weeks straight,” Benedict said.

“We have about 10 new installs for people who are replacing their old units right now. From our service calls, people are experiencing the normal stuff that occurs with their air-conditioning units this time of year. With the fan motors, the bearings go bad, and there are also refrigerant leaks and compressors that go bad.”

Regular AC maintenance

Additionally, Benedict suggested that residents should have their air-conditioning units serviced on a regular basis.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t maintain their AC units and they let them get dirty and let things fail,” he said.

“After that, it just multiplies and causes more problems. “It’s always best to have your units checked regularly rather than waiting to have something go wrong with them. You can keep ahead of the game because it’s kind of like changing the oil in your car and checking the fluids regularly.”

Benedict also noted that crews are working both day and night just to keep up with the amount of service calls.