PHOENIX — In a city accustomed to scorching summers, a historic heat wave Tuesday established a new standard: On the 19th day in a row, the temperature surpassed 110 degrees in this location.
The temperatures subsequently continued to rise: According to preliminary National Weather Service data, the temperature reached 116 less than two hours later, setting a record for the day of Tuesday, and increased as high as 118. Old records will be broken because it doesn’t look like the heat run will end anytime soon. For at least the upcoming week, high temperatures are expected to reach 115 degrees or higher.
According to David Hondula, director of the city’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, “it is very likely that these are the highest temperatures that many Phoenicians have ever experienced given the rapid population growth of Phoenix and how many people have been moving here.”
It occurs in the midst of what has already been an exceptionally hot summer for the southern United States, from California to Texas to Florida. In addition to the many millions of people suffering from heat waves in southern Europe, the Middle East, and China, over 58 million individuals in the United States were anticipated to face triple-digit temperatures this week.
Tonyea Warren, a resident of Phoenix, claims that although they are accustomed to heat, the current weather is a test. Warren works as a driver for Uber as her only source of income, but on one particularly hot day this week, she could only stand two hours behind the wheel.
Warren, 29, who has spent her entire life in Phoenix, declared, “I’m ready.” “But it’s unique. I’ve never experienced this heat. This heat is distinct from others.
Her thesis is illustrated by the extensive number of streaks and records that already characterise the heat wave:
• At Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport, temperatures have tied or surpassed daily records five of the last six days, with a high of 118 degrees recorded on Saturday. On June 26, 1990, the city saw its warmest temperature on record (122 degrees).
• Evenings aren’t doing much to relieve the heat; Tuesday morning’s temperature at Sky Harbour set a record for the ninth consecutive day without falling below 90 degrees. The lowest recorded temperature for the date was 95 degrees on Monday morning, which was also the second-warmest day ever.
• Phoenix is experiencing one of its longest periods of time without measurable precipitation, and the lack of clouds and rain is allowing the heat to last longer. According to the National Weather Service, Sky Harbour has experienced only traces of rain for the past 118 days, making it one of the 10 longest streaks ever recorded there.
• Not only is the heat wave longer-lasting, but it is also more intense than prior hot spells. In Phoenix, the past 17 days have seen temperatures that have been above 101 degrees on average. That is a lot hotter than the city’s previous record-breaking heat wave in 1974, when it exceeded 110 degrees for 18 straight days. Temperature fluctuated then.
The region has been baking under sunny skies due to an exceptionally strong and persistent area of high pressure that has been over the southwest for weeks. Over the Atlantic Ocean, southern Europe, northern Africa, and southern Asia, additional heat domes are causing high temperatures.
This summer, temperatures have been approaching or smashing all-time records throughout the Southwest. El Paso has seen 33 days in a row with a high of 100 or above, which is 10 days longer than its previous record. Sunday’s high in Reno, Nevada, tied the city’s all-time record with 108 degrees. Sunday’s high in Las Vegas was 116, just one degree below the previous high.
Average temperatures have steadily increased as a result of global warming, which has also increased the severity and frequency of intense heat. The globe has experienced days that have likely been its warmest in more than 100,000 years due to the rapid growth of the global climate pattern El Nio, which is known to raise planetary temperatures.
Only the yearly monsoon season, which in Phoenix runs from June through September, may provide relief from the heat.
However, according to Sean Benedict, chief meteorologist at the Weather Service’s Phoenix office, the monsoon has been conspicuously absent for the majority of the past few weeks.
The “first taste” of it arrived in the Phoenix area on Monday when sporadic thunderstorms and dust storms formed around Arizona. Benedict remarked that it wasn’t enough to calm the situation down: “All we really got in Phoenix was dust.”
That meant that by Tuesday, the locals were worn out. The extended heat, according to Mika Davis, a resident of the city’s Edison-Eastlake neighbourhood, has already compelled her to move her daughter’s second birthday celebration indoors. Davis said she was beginning to rethink that strategy after walking outside Tuesday morning to walk her dog Lady.
The weather is just too hot to be doing anything, so I could even cancel her birthday, said Davis, 38.
Warren, a native of Phoenicia, brought her family to a neighbourhood park for a workout at seven in the morning when it was only 90 degrees outside. Warren nonetheless carried insulated water bottles and a purple spray bottle to cool herself off and wet her face with.
It wasn’t long before it was time to return inside. She grabbed her phone to check the weather as Warren and her family got ready to leave, but she paused as an alert appeared on the screen, drawing her attention.
She said, “Damn, my phone is about to overheat.”