30 days over 110 F in Phoenix. But expected monsoon rains could cool historically hot Southwest

by Gabriel Martinez
Heatwave in Phoenix

Phoenix, enduring an unprecedented 30-day spell with temperatures surpassing 110 F, might finally get a reprieve from the record-breaking heat wave sweeping across the Southwest U.S., as incoming monsoon rains are predicted to bring down the heat.

Throughout July, the scorching heat has been unrelenting, making life challenging for Phoenix’s over 1.6 million residents. However, meteorologists anticipate a downturn in temperature beneath the 110 F mark by Monday, for the first time in a month.

Despite this prediction, Saturday witnessed the 30th consecutive day with the mercury climbing beyond 110 F, thereby outpacing the previous 18-day record set in 1974, according to the National Weather Service.

Monsoon thunderstorms are slated for Sunday, offering a cooler atmosphere albeit with potential hazards like powerful winds, airborne dust, and a threat of flash flooding, due to sudden rainfall on arid surfaces swiftly filling usually parched washes.

There’s been a slight breather this week when night temperatures at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport dipped below 90 F for the first time in 16 days, allowing residents a momentary escape from the relentless heat post-sunset.

Other locations like Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and even Death Valley, California, are likely to experience a decline in temperatures. For instance, Death Valley’s Saturday temperature of 122 F is expected to drop to 113 F by Tuesday, with a slim chance of rain.

Meanwhile, California’s San Joaquin Valley is bracing for triple-digit temperatures from Saturday through Monday, as per the National Weather Service in Hanford, California.

Additionally, Santa Barbara County may encounter strong afternoon winds over the weekend, escalating the risk of wildfires. This prediction extends to adjacent valleys, mountains, and desert regions as well.

In Riverside County, a wildfire dubbed the Bonny Fire has forced the evacuation of more than 1,300 people, while another 1,400 residents are on evacuation alert. The wildfire, which has consumed 3.2 square miles in the Aguanga community, northeast of San Diego, is only 5% contained.

The heat has also affected wildlife. Burbank police discovered a bear taking a dip in a Jacuzzi, prompting reminders for residents to secure food and trash.

Phoenix experienced its first significant monsoon storm since the start of the season on June 15. Although the storm didn’t bring rain to the entire Phoenix area, some eastern suburbs experienced high winds, dust storms, and localized rainfall.

The heatwave is not only a U.S. phenomenon. Scientists predict that July will go down as the hottest month globally ever recorded, with the eastern U.S. regions also feeling the heat.

These record-breaking temperatures contribute to a range of extreme weather events across the U.S., including flash floods in Pennsylvania and parts of the Northeast.

The Goodyear fire department in a Phoenix suburb warned that these soaring temperatures pose a risk to everyone, particularly vulnerable groups like the elderly, those with health problems, and those without air conditioning.

Maricopa County, the most populous in Arizona, reported 25 heat-related deaths this year, as of July 21, with an additional 249 under investigation.

Next week, temperatures are expected to fluctuate between 104 and 112 in Yuma, Arizona, and between 99 and 111 in Tucson, Arizona. Las Vegas temperatures may even go as low as 94 after enduring temperatures above 110, and even Death Valley will experience a relative cooldown.

Contributions to this report were made by Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and Amy Taxin in Santa Ana, California.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Heatwave in Phoenix

How long has Phoenix been experiencing temperatures over 110 F?

Phoenix has been experiencing temperatures over 110 F for an unprecedented 30 straight days.

What is expected to bring relief to this heatwave in Phoenix?

The incoming monsoon rains are expected to cool down the unprecedented heatwave in Phoenix.

What potential hazards are associated with the monsoon rains?

The incoming monsoon rains, while expected to cool down the temperature, also carry potential risks such as strong winds, airborne dust, and a threat of flash flooding.

Has this heatwave affected other areas in the Southwest U.S.?

Yes, other areas in the Southwest U.S., including Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and even Death Valley in California, have also been impacted by this heatwave.

What other implications does this heatwave have?

The heatwave has led to wildfire outbreaks, forced evacuations, impacted wildlife, and resulted in heat-related deaths. Particularly, Maricopa County in Arizona reported 25 heat-related deaths this year as of July 21.

How has the heatwave affected global temperatures?

Scientists anticipate that July will go down as the hottest month globally ever recorded due to the widespread heatwave.

More about Heatwave in Phoenix

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Sally89 July 31, 2023 - 9:05 am

It’s scorching in Vegas too!! And I thought Death Valley was the hottest. Hoping for some rain soon.

John McWeather July 31, 2023 - 4:23 pm

Crazy how hot it’s been, Phoenix must be like a furnace! Anybody got tips to stay cool??

Maria Gonzalez July 31, 2023 - 8:15 pm

heard about the bear in Burbank..poor thing! It’s not just humans, animals are suffering too. Hope the monsoons bring some relief.

Jake ClimateActivist July 31, 2023 - 9:36 pm

Guys, this is why we gotta take climate change seriously! Hottest July on record is no joke… let’s do our part to save the planet.

Rick Desertman August 1, 2023 - 2:01 am

Been living in Phoenix for 30 years, never seen it this bad! Praying for the monsoon rains to kick in soon.


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