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Two die from heat in sweltering California: reports

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The National Weather Service and local authorities issued heat advisories and warnings, urging residents to stay indoors and to drink plenty of water if they were outdoors. Power grid operators encouraged customers to use electricity sparingly to avoid a shutdown or blackout.

[LOS ANGELES] Two people have died from heat-related illnesses in California, local media reported on Wednesday, as the Southwest US bakes under triple-digit temperatures that have shattered records, driven residents indoors and cancelled airline flights.

The two fatalities, the first recorded in the three-day heat wave, took place on Monday in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, and included a homeless person found in a car, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The victims were identified only as a 72-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman.

"It is tragic when someone dies of hyperthermia since in most every case it could have been prevented," Dr Michelle Jorden of the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office told the paper.

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"Hyperthermia and heat stress happen when a body's heat-regulation system cannot handle the heat. It can happen to anyone, which is why it is so important to be in a cool location, drink plenty of water and take a cool bath or shower if you are getting too hot," Dr Jorden said.

The extreme heat, brought on by a high-pressure system parked over the Four Corners region where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet, has boosted temperatures well above normal across much of the Southwest.

The National Weather Service and local authorities issued heat advisories and warnings, urging residents to stay indoors and to drink plenty of water if they were outdoors. Power grid operators encouraged customers to use electricity sparingly to avoid a shutdown or blackout.

The sizzling weather forced the cancellation of more than 20 flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and delays at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Aviation experts say the hotter, thinner air saps power from airline engines.

The heat can also create issues for ground crews, where pavement temperatures can reach more than 150 degrees F (66 C), a life-threatening condition if workers are exposed to it too long.

Temperatures reached 127 degrees in California's Death Valley on Tuesday afternoon, at the peak of the heat wave, but cooler weather was expected across the region by the end of the week.

REUTERS

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