Tourists eat ice cream to cool off along the Venice Beach strand in Los Angeles, Tuesday, July 24, 2108. Scorching heat radiated across the U.S. Southwest on Tuesday, with the highest temperatures expected in California's Death Valley during a week that forecasters say could prove to be the region's hottest this year. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Extreme heat sizzles across the US Southwest

July 25, 2018 - 6:50 pm

PHOENIX (AP) — Extreme heat sizzled across the U.S. Southwest again on Wednesday after ramping up electricity use so much in the Phoenix area that a major utility broke a record.

The National Weather Service office in Phoenix said temperatures in the city hit 116 degrees (46 Celsius) on Wednesday, setting a new high for the date. Residents of southern Arizona could expect some relief in the coming days as temperatures start to ease slightly, forecasters said.

The Salt River Project utility that delivers electricity to about 2 million customers in Phoenix and the rest of central Arizona said demand was so great between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday that it set a record of 7,252 megawatts to retail customers.

That topped the utility's previous system peak of 7,219 megawatts on June 20, 2017. One megawatt is enough to power about 225 average homes.

The utility said the increased demand was the result of this week's extreme temperatures, which on Tuesday reached 116 degrees (46 Celsius) in Phoenix, a tie with city's record high for the date set in 2014.

Most of Arizona and parts of California, Nevada and Utah have been under an extreme heat warning this week.

Las Vegas authorities have said the city could see the hottest weather this year, while fire officials warned that conditions could be dangerous.

Temperatures were also scorching across the border in parts of northwestern Mexico.

In the border city of Mexicali, across from California, officials said some local pelicans were suffering heat stroke — appearing weak, disoriented and dangerously dehydrated — after the mercury spiked as high as 118.

Mexico's federal environmental protection agency said Wednesday in a statement that workers rescued eight woozy birds across the city and took them to a zoo for treatment. The California brown pelicans will be released into the wild after recovery.