Phoenix Hits 117 Degrees — One of Hottest Days Ever in Valley

Friday started off with a withering low temperature of 93 degrees, giving Valley residents a hint of the heat-blast to come.

By late afternoon, metro Phoenix reached a record-setting 117 degrees, the National Weather Service confirmed.

It wasn't the hottest day in Phoenix ever — that record of 122 degrees was set on June 26, 1990 and hasn't yet been equaled. But Friday's high temperature topped the old record for August 14 of 113 degrees, and it tied for the 14th hottest day in recorded Phoenix history, says Chris Kuhlman, a meteorologist with the NWS' Phoenix bureau.

The low of 93 is also likely to be a record for the day — Kuhlman says chances are slim that it will cool below 93 by midnight. That's only three degrees off the highest low in Phoenix ever of 96, set in 2003.

The scorcher came unexpectedly a few days after an unusual morning monsoon storm struck the Valley on Tuesday. A dust storm, rain, and high winds with gusts up to 57 miles per hour knocked out power to thousands of homes. With a high pressure zone above Arizona, the clouds disappeared, and the air dried out considerably, leaving ripe conditions for the extra-hot day.

Even for desert rats, this is hellishly hot. An excessive heat warning issued today will persist through the weekend, Kuhlman said. The prediction for Saturday's high is 114 degrees, "but if the right circumstances arise, we could see 117 again."
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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