No relief in sight from record heat in the West

(CBS News) LAS VEGAS - It's late June, and it's the Southwest, so it's supposed to be hot. But this is historic, and it is the worst day yet.

It was another scorcher in Las Vegas Sunday as the temperature hit 115 degrees. The massive heat wave that is baking most of the Southwest has already killed one man here and sent another 40 people to the hospital since it arrived on Friday.

Captain, a boxer pitbull mix, wears sunglasses as he sits with his owner in Echo Lake Park in Los Angeles, California June 29, 2013.
Captain, a boxer pitbull mix, wears sunglasses as he sits with his owner in Echo Lake Park in Los Angeles, California June 29, 2013.
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The strip is sweltering and tourists like Sharon Martin looking to stay cool are out of luck.

"We are from Pittsburgh," Martin said. "It's very, very hot here. Feels like 120 degrees. Very hot."

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Cities and towns all across the West recorded temperatures over 100 degrees this weekend, prompting many to open cooling centers.

Large parts of California remain under extreme heat warnings. Searing temperatures have sent many people outdoors, where they are packing into pools and flooding beaches.

San Diego firefighters rushed to Cowles Mountain to rescue hikers suffering from heat exhaustion.

"It can be serious," said San Diego Fire Captain John Husby. "We do get patients in the heat like this that don't hydrate, that don't rest properly and it can be a life threatening situation."

It reached a record-setting 119 degrees in Phoenix yesterday, where the fire department responded to over 40 heat-related emergencies.

Amanda Hernandez
Amanda Hernandez
CBS News

At this softball field in Houston, there were no triple plays for the Killer B's and Big Dawgs, only triple-digit temperatures. So players like Amanda Hernandez did everything to keep cool.

"Drink a lot of water. Put ice on your ears. It keeps you cool," Hernandez said.

Back in Vegas, Bob Hearn is committed to enjoying his vacation in spite of the heat.

"We are here to enjoy ourselves so we are making the best out of it," Hearn said.

Many visitors here seem to be accepting the extreme heat as part of the desert experience. However, officials are worried about the people who can't escape the heat.

CBS News meteorologist Jeff Beradelli reports there will be more heat for the next several days. In Las Vegas, there is a real threat to break the record of 4 straight days of 116 degree weather.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.

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