A Newcomer's Guide to Surviving the Phoenix Summer Heat Wave

This is fine.
This is fine.
National Weather Service

As you may have noticed if you've checked the weather forecast recently, Phoenix is going to turn into a literal death trap next week.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Saturday through Wednesday, and is predicting that we could see all-time record highs in the range of 122 degrees on Monday and Tuesday.

I am going to die.

Aside from one summer in South Florida — where the phrase "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" is an accurate, if overused cliche — I have spent most of my life in the Northeast, usually not too far from the ocean. Direct sunlight gives me a massive headache, and I already came close to collapsing at an outdoor rally in May, back when it was still a casual 102 degrees out.

For largely selfish reasons, I put out a call on the Phoenix New Times Facebook page and my own personal Twitter account, soliciting summer survival advice.

Here are some of the most useful replies from our readers:

Debra Johnston Wussler: "If you plan on going out during the day, keep potholders in your vehicle's console so you'll be able to touch the steering wheel and gearshift knob."

Gilberto Hernandez: "Shop for groceries at 5 a.m. Only come out after sundown."

Bruce Laird: "Stay inside, be prepared with extra non-perishable food and water in the event of power outages. Drink a gallon of water daily starting now."

Sue Graver: "Stay inside with air conditioning. Get things delivered whenever possible. Carry a sunshade (parasol or umbrella) if you have to be out in the sunlight."

Maggie Edmonson: "Hopefully you've already had your A/C serviced for summer. Don't try to super cool your house. Leave it at 78 / 80 so it doesn't get overworked. Be very careful on the roads & especially freeways / tires will be blowing out more than normal. Keep your blinds closed if you can. Drink PLENTY of water."

Monica Johnson: "Cook meals in a crockpot so you don't have to stand over a hot stove or heat up the house even more by using the oven. Or better yet, eat no-cook meals like salads or sandwiches."

Samuel Richard: "Beer is 98% water. And most resort pools let you in for cheap."

Daniel Juarez: "Carry an ice chest with water. Hand them out to the homeless if you're out and about."

Ashley Grove: "Get blackout curtains to block the sun out of your home and help keep it cool."

Douglas Kent James III: "When the temperature is 115+, there is no such thing as drinking enough water. Being outside for only 10 minutes in 120 degrees will dehydrate you beyond belief. Drink as much water as you can if you are going outside at all, and carry a gallon jug in your trunk at all times."

Sherman Dorn: "1. Bed Bath & Beyond have silicon popsicle molds. 2. Memorize stores open after dark. Fry's, Sprouts 'til 10... 3. Shade screens! 4. Cooling towels great until July. 5. Fill several water bottles 1/3rd, stick in freezer."

Mariana Dale: "Beware sun-heated door handles and seat belts. Do weekend errands before 11 a.m. Know that portulacas are about the only plant that thrives right now. Also, eat all the raspados!"

Devika Persaud: "If you can't hold the back of your hand to the concrete for 10 seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog. Walk them early in the morning and then early evening. Get training pads if they can't hold it."

Tricia Creech: "Get a kiddy pool if you don't have a regular one."

Christina Cavanaugh: "Be ready for a brown out. Have a back up place to go when the power goes out. Have frozen containers of water if your freezer is not full. Keep some food you don't have to cook. Make friends with your neighbors!"

Valerie Philip-Harrison: "Make sure your car seat is free of loose change. I sat on a penny and it burned Abe Lincoln's face, top hat and all, onto my butt."


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