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November 26, 2014

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July Fourth set to sizzle on tail end of intense heat wave

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

A tourist takes advantage of the misters at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas on Saturday, June 29, 2013.

Vegas Heat: June 29, 2013

Passersby take advantage of the misters at the Candy Factory to cool off on the Strip Saturday, June 29, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Plan your holiday barbecues near shade and grab extra ice for the beverages: This year could be the hottest Fourth of July in Las Vegas since 2007.

Thursday’s high temperature is expected to reach 113 degrees amid partly cloudy skies, said Jim Harrison, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Las Vegas office.

On July 4, 2007, the thermometer hit 114 degrees at McCarran International Airport, Harrison said. Since then, Fourth of July temperatures have been lower.

Last year, the high temperature topped out at 93 degrees on Independence Day, and in 2011, the temperature peaked at 94 degrees on July 4, Harrison said.

Meteorologists’ advice for the upcoming scorching holiday?

“Drink lots of water,” Harrison said. “Take it easy.”

The heat wave that’s been baking the Las Vegas Valley since Friday is courtesy of a “strong high-pressure area centered over Nevada,” Harrison said.

On Monday, Las Vegas hit a high temperature of 114 in the late afternoon, Harrison said. Tuesday’s high temperature is expected to be 115 degrees.

Here’s the good news: The hottest days of the heat wave could be behind us.

Meteorologists expect the high-pressure system to get pushed farther south later this week, giving Las Vegans some relief from the heat.

“There is an end in sight to the excessive heat,” Harrison said. “We can look forward to that by the weekend.”

Harrison said the following high temperatures are predicted for the weekend: 110 degrees Friday, 108 degrees Saturday and 106 degrees Sunday.

The heat wave left its mark on Las Vegas, though.

When Las Vegas hit 117 degrees Sunday, it tied the all-time high-temperature record for the area, Harrison said. Las Vegas also reached 117 degrees in July 1942 and July 2005.

The 117 mark on Sunday, however, broke the June record of 116 degrees, set in 1940.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has forecast a chance of above-normal temperatures for July in Western states, Harrison said. The normal high this time of year is 103 degrees.

“It’s an indication we will stay hot,” he said.

From Friday through 8 p.m. Monday, the 911 center that handles fire and medical calls for Clark County reported 177 heat-related calls. In May, the 911 center had 69 total heat-related calls.

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