Like the rest of the planet, Phoenix has endured hotter weather over the last few years due to climate change. But unlike much of the rest of the planet, Phoenix has always been scorching. And now that temperatures are soaring even higher, health problems are rising too. In fact, in 2017, Phoenix recorded 155 heat-related deaths, the highest number ever. So city officials and nonprofits are mounting a campaign to change infrastructure and public attitudes to better prepare for deadly heat. NPR has the story:
There is a moment as heatstroke sets in when the body, no longer able to cool itself, stops sweating. Joey Azuela remembers it well.
“My body felt hot, like, in a different way,” he says. “It was like a ‘I’m cooking’ hot.”
Three summers ago, Azuela, then 14, and his father were hiking a trail in one of Phoenix’s rugged desert preserves. It was not an unusually hot day for Phoenix, but they had gotten a later start than usual. By the time they reached the top, Azuela was weak and nauseous. They had run out of water.
“On the way down, it was just like a daze. And I just remember thinking like, ‘Man, I got to get to the car, just get to the car,’ ” Azuela says. “Then, just — black.”