Temperature in Phoenix spikes to hottest of the year

PHOENIX (AP) — The temperature in Phoenix hit a whopping 115 degrees Tuesday, making it the city's hottest day so far this year.

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The scorching weather prompted an excessive heat warning earlier in the day from the National Weather Service. It was in effect until 8 p.m.

Forecasters were urging people to take several precautions. They included drinking water before becoming thirsty, cutting down on time in the sun, avoiding outdoor activity in the afternoon, and finding shade if being outdoors is necessary, as the ground could be anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees hotter, the weather service said.

Officials also were reminding people to not leave children or pets in their cars.

At the Phoenix Zoo, staff members were taking extra measures to keep monkeys, bears and other animals cool. Zookeepers were handing out special treats of big ice blocks with food like sunflower seeds frozen inside. Elephants received a special hose-down.

"At the Phoenix Zoo, we consider ... whenever we bring an animal in ... their temperature requirements in the wild — what they can deal with," said Angela Comedy, the zoo's carnivore collection manager. "And some animals we just won't have here at the Phoenix Zoo because it's too hot for them and we can't keep them as cool as they should be."

All of the animal habitats are equipped with pools or misters. In addition, the animals' cooler nighttime houses open once the outdoors become too hot.

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This story has been edited to correct that the excessive heat warning is in effect until Tuesday night, not Wednesday.

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