Phoenix's weather forecast shows heat wave to return this weekend | Phoenix New Times
Navigation

Phoenix's weather forcast shows heat wave to return this weekend

By Saturday, the high in Phoenix is expected to reach 113 and trigger another excessive heat warning.
With the clock ticking before the next heat wave rolls into town, Phoenix’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation is homed in on a three-pronged approach to keep the city's most vulnerable population safe.
With the clock ticking before the next heat wave rolls into town, Phoenix’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation is homed in on a three-pronged approach to keep the city's most vulnerable population safe. Getty Images
Share this:

The record-setting summer weather just won’t quit.


After the hottest July on record, Phoenicians were looking forward to an August reprieve that never came. Typically, August averages 23 days with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher, and two days of 110 or higher, according to the Arizona State Climate Office. This August, Phoenix highs reached at least 110 degrees 17 times. The high dipped below 100 degrees only twice this month — on Aug. 19 and Aug. 21.


Thanks to stormy weather that knocked out power for tens of thousands of Valley residents on Aug. 31, Phoenix enjoyed a cooler Labor Day weekend. But the welcomed weather change won’t be sticking around. In fact, the heat is expected to return again later this week.


"We're looking for temperatures to be warming through the week," Mark O'Malley of the National Weather Service told the Arizona Republic. "Today [Tuesday] will be the coolest day with high temperatures only around 100 degrees around the Phoenix area. However, we will be warming, possibly reaching close to 100 degrees, and record levels have a chance this weekend."


By Saturday, the high is expected to reach 113 and trigger another excessive heat warning.

click to enlarge
Temperatures are expected to steadily warm up through the week, with highs approaching record levels by this weekend.
National Weather Service

Heat deaths continue to soar


The unseasonably high temperatures are continuing to take a deadly toll on Maricopa County residents.


There have been 180 confirmed heat-associated deaths this year, according to the latest Maricopa County Department of Public Health heat surveillance report. With an additional 330 deaths under investigation, it is likely that the number of heat-related deaths will be even higher.


By comparison, MCDPH reported a total of 111 confirmed heat-associated deaths during the same time period in 2022.


Of the heat deaths that have occurred in 2023, 44% were among the homeless population. But according to David Hondula, the director of Phoenix’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, the report’s numbers don’t tell the whole story.


“When you read the reports, the unsheltered population can account for a third to 40% of heat-associated deaths depending on the specific year. Of course, the unsheltered community does not represent 30% to 40% of the population of the county. It’s more likely that [the unsheltered population] makes up one-fifth of 1% of the population of the county. So, there is a really significant disproportionate risk for them,” Hondula told Phoenix New Times.


Now in its second year of existence, Hondula’s department is working to identify and unify the city’s various heat mitigation efforts.


“It wasn't even the case until last year that we had all of our heat response plans and programs on one document,” Hondula noted.


With the clock ticking before the next heat wave rolls into town, Hondula said his team is homed in on a three-pronged approach to keep Phoenix’s most vulnerable population safe.


Firstly, OHRM is distributing cooling supplies, such as cold water hats and towels. Secondly, the office is sharing information on its website about available cooling stations as well as solutions for helping someone in the throes of heat-related illness. Thirdly, Hondula said that his team is working to establish connections for continuing care for Phoenix’s unsheltered residents.


“We certainly see those as big wins for community heat resilience,” Hondula said.

BEFORE YOU GO...
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Phoenix New Times has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.