Phoenix Is Headed for Its Hottest Summer Ever Recorded

A moratorium on shutting off electricity in the Phoenix area remains in effect as weather officials issue a new extreme heat warning.
A moratorium on shutting off electricity in the Phoenix area remains in effect as weather officials issue a new extreme heat warning. Robert Brinkley Jr. via Pexels.com
Enjoy your 109 degrees today, Phoenix. It'll be the lowest high temperature for a while.

The metro area's looking at 10 more days of hellish, hot, muggy air and no monsoon storms. The forecast shows the extreme heat breaking mildly on August 21, then possibly moving back into oven-like territory. By Friday, the high temperature is expected to hit 116 each day for several consecutive days.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix declared an Excessive Heat Warning starting Wednesday for metro Phoenix and other parts of central Arizona.

"The warning then expands to include nearly all of south-central and southwest Arizona and southeast California Thursday through next Monday," the NWS said. "High to very high heat risk is expected, which can lead to heat illnesses and can also be deadly."

If it keeps up like this till the end of the month, the NWS said, the weather bureau will chalk it up as the region's hottest summer ever.

The NWS considers June, July, and August as the "meteorological summer," combining the average highs and lows of each day of those months to produce a single number for the summer's average temperature. The current record-holders are 2013 and 2015, which are tied at an average temperature of 95.1 degrees.

This summer is "very likely" to hit a new record based on the current forecast, said Mark O'Malley, NWS meteorologist. But it depends on how the last few days of the month go, he added.

"If we're lucky, we could get a storm," he said.

Statewide, the last three months comprised the second-hottest May-July period on record.

The annual monsoon storms have been lackluster in metro Phoenix this summer, though they've produced a few spectacular thunderstorms in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. Extreme heat is a by-product of the monsoon season; high-pressure systems stall out, trapping moisture further south, O'Malley said.

He urges anyone who has to work outside in the next several days to remember to take breaks and drink plenty of water.

Robin Charland of Canyon State Roofing and Consulting in Phoenix said the company's 25 employees are doing the best they can to cope with the extra-hot summer.

"They're definitely feeling it," she said. "We're making sure everybody's got plenty of hydration."

The company's roofers start "super-early, at 5 a.m. — that's on the roof by 5 a.m. They try to get done by 1," she said.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern