PHOENIX (AP) — No one could have anticipated the severe heat wave that has engulfed the fifth largest city in the United States this summer.
This month, Phoenix has broken its record for consecutive days in which the temperature has reached at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius). As of Tuesday, when the forecast called for a high of 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 Celsius), the record stood at 26 days and counting. The record was likely to be broken Wednesday, with a peak temperature of 119 degrees (48 degrees Celsius) expected.Nevertheless, after this week, some respite may be on the horizon.
Meteorologist Isaac Smith of the National Weather Service in Phoenix stated, “It seems unlikely that we’ll experience daily temperatures above 110 degrees through the end of the month.” Temperatures are expected to drop through the weekend, and the probability of monsoon rain will increase to 40-50%. On Monday, we anticipate a high of 108.”
Phoenix Heat Records Soar: Extreme Temperatures and Rainfall Forecast
Dr. Erinanne Saffell, Arizona’s state climatologist, stated that prior to this year, the longest series of days where temperatures exceed 110 degrees was 18 in 1974.
Phoenix is on track to register its first month with an average temperature of 100 degrees or higher. Next Monday may be the only day in July with temperatures below 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) and measurable rainfall.
The monsoon season in Arizona begins on June 15 and can bring violent storms with high winds, lightning, and torrential downpours. The last measurable precipitation in Phoenix occurred on March 22.
According to Saffell, in the early 1900s, Phoenix averaged five days per year with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher. “Now, we’re five times that number on average.”
Although there have been some monsoon thunderstorms in northern and southern Arizona, Phoenix’s precipitation remains well below average for this time of year. It is particularly distressing for a region experiencing drought conditions.
Additionally, Phoenix is breaking or matching other records. Monday’s high temperature of 116 degrees (47 C) tied the record for a single day. This record was established in 2018.
The National Weather Service has extended the heat advisory that has been in effect since July 1 until Thursday evening.
According to Saffell, it is too early to predict whether climate change will cause Phoenix to experience a repeat performance next summer.
“There is some back and forth. We anticipate two extremely moist summers in 2021 and 2022,” she said, referring to 2021 and 2022. “Normally, we don’t have three in a row, but the heat dome really contributed to those temperatures.”
Arizona is not alone. Other areas of the Southwest, such as New Mexico and Nevada, have also been engulfed by sweltering temperatures.