Heat wave and record temperatures are canceling flights out west in Phoenix

Sometimes air travel seems more trouble than it’s worth like when it’s too damn hot in Phoenix for planes to even fly.

The western United States is reporting record-breaking temperature highs and the heat wave is messing with people’s plans left and right. In addition to power outages, wildfires, general misery and health risks, the temperatures — which reached 119 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday in Phoenix — are leading to flight cancellations.

American Airlines canceled 43 flights on Tuesday in and out of Phoenix due to the heat and the company anticipated canceling more. (Seven were canceled on Monday as well.) Regional jets cannot take off in temperatures hotter than 117, reported CNN Money, which was the temperature Tuesday and the expected temperature for Wednesday as well.

Hot air is also, apparently, thinner meaning planes need longer runways to take off. However, the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, which is not by any means unprepared for heat, is built with long runways that can generally accommodate takeoffs in high temperatures.

Phoenix, the residents and the airport are all familiar with triple-digit temperatures, but Washington Post reports that this week the heat has felt different. Tuesday was the city’s fourth hottest day ever and if Wednesday reaches the expected 117 degrees, the two-day span will set two new records. The airport reported a temperature of 100 degrees by 8:42 a.m.

According to CNBC, the hottest temperature Phoenix has ever recorded was 122 degrees on June 26, 1990. At 126 and 127 degrees — the temperature in Death Valley on Tuesday — bigger planes made by Boeing and Airbus will be grounded too.

Honestly, with temperatures that high, it’s no surprise that people are trying to get out of town, but also the idea of going anywhere — especially to the airport — sounds like hell.

In all seriousness though, extreme heat is no joke and can present a real health risk, particularly to the young and elderly. If you’re in an area of extreme heat, remember to stay hydrated and spend as much time as possible in air conditioned or cool spaces. If you’re participating in outdoor activities or working outdoors, be sure to take frequent breaks, hydrate and stay cool.

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