Phoenix Suffers in Scorching Heat as California Wildfires Spread

by Ryan Lee
Extreme Heatwave

Phoenix continues to swelter in its 31st straight day of temperatures reaching at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius), even as other parts of the nation grapple with record-breaking heat on Sunday. This comes after a week in which a significant fraction of the U.S. populace was subjected to extreme high temperatures.

The National Weather Service has predicted that Phoenix’s temperature could peak at 112 F (44.4 Celsius) before the day ends.

July’s soaring temperatures are so extreme that scientists are predicting it could be the hottest month ever recorded and possibly the warmest experienced by human civilization. Both the World Meteorological Organization and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service declared July’s heat as unprecedented, on Thursday.

The exceptional heat, which began in late June, has been tormenting the Southwest U.S., from Texas through New Mexico, Arizona, and reaching into California’s desert.

Sunday saw a colossal wildfire in California’s Mojave National Preserve quickly spreading due to unpredictable winds. Simultaneously, fire crews made headway against another significant fire to the south that had sparked evacuations.

The York Fire, which broke out on Friday near the Caruthers Canyon area, produced a massive smoke plume visible almost 100 miles (160 kilometers) away in Nevada.

Fires as high as 20 feet (6 meters) have scorched over 110 square miles (284 square kilometers) of desert shrub, juniper, and Joshua tree woodland, according to a Sunday update. Authorities noted that the dry conditions have facilitated the fire’s rapid spread, causing high flames and extreme fire behavior, although no structures are currently in danger.

In Riverside County to the southwest, the Bonny Fire remained roughly the same size in the challenging terrain, prompting over 1,300 residents near Aguanga, California, to evacuate on Saturday.

Triple-digit temperatures are forecasted in parts of the central San Joaquin Valley until Monday, the National Weather Service reported.

The heatwave might also be affecting wildlife, with police in Burbank, California, responding to a report of a bear enjoying a Jacuzzi in a residential area.

As the climate crisis brings increasingly hotter and longer heatwaves, record-breaking temperatures across the U.S. are leading to many fatalities, with the poorest Americans suffering the most. Air conditioning, once considered a luxury, has become a necessity for survival.

In the previous year, all 86 heat-related deaths indoors occurred in uncooled environments.

“Heat is a silent killer,” said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington who studies heat and health. “Once the heatwave begins, deaths start within 24 hours.”

Disproportionately, it’s the poorest and people of color, from Kansas City to Detroit to New York City and beyond, who are more likely to endure the punishing heat without air conditioning, a Boston University analysis of 115 U.S. metro areas found.

Phoenix could see a slight reprieve, with forecasted seasonal thunderstorms potentially bringing a drop in temperatures on Monday and Tuesday.

“We expect it to be around 108 degrees, breaking that 110-degree streak,” said meteorologist Tom Frieders. “The increasing cloud cover will initiate a downward trend in temperatures.”

However, the relief could be brief as temperatures are expected to rise again to 110 F (43.3 C) by Wednesday, and reaching 115 F (46.1 C) by week’s end.

Phoenix has also endured a record 16 consecutive nights of minimum temperatures staying above 90 F (32.2 C), offering little respite after sundown.

Simultaneously, Las Vegas is on the verge of experiencing its hottest July on record, nearing its 2010 average daily high and low record for July of 96.2 F (35.5 C).

The severe heat also extends to the eastern U.S, with record-breaking temperatures moving from the Midwest into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, where some areas experienced their warmest days this year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Extreme Heatwave

How many consecutive days has Phoenix experienced 110-degree heat?

Phoenix has endured a scorching 110-degree Fahrenheit heat for 31 consecutive days.

What are scientists predicting about July’s temperature?

Scientists are predicting that July could be the hottest month ever recorded and possibly the warmest experienced by human civilization.

Where is the massive wildfire spreading in California?

A massive wildfire is spreading in California’s Mojave National Preserve.

Who is more likely to endure the punishing heat without air conditioning?

According to a Boston University analysis, the poorest and people of color, in cities ranging from Kansas City to Detroit to New York City and beyond, are more likely to endure the punishing heat without air conditioning.

What temperature is expected in Phoenix after the possible relief from the heatwave?

After the potential relief from the heatwave, temperatures are expected to rise again to 110 F (43.3 C) by Wednesday, and reaching 115 F (46.1 C) by the end of the week.

More about Extreme Heatwave

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RiversideRuth July 31, 2023 - 3:55 am

Evacuations are terrifying, stay safe everyone in Riverside County.

FireFighterFred July 31, 2023 - 5:37 am

Big shoutout to all the brave firefighters battling the California wildfires. We appreciate your hard work and bravery.

HeatHater101 July 31, 2023 - 6:33 am

This heat is too much!!! when will it end?

JessieM July 31, 2023 - 11:33 am

can’t believe what Phoenix is going through, 31 days above 110! Stay safe out there, guys.

SammySunshine July 31, 2023 - 6:29 pm

can’t imagine the nights with no cool down, 90 degrees at night is no joke!

NevadaNick July 31, 2023 - 9:28 pm

We saw that smoke plume from the York Fire all the way here in Nevada. Scary stuff…

BurbankBill August 1, 2023 - 1:37 am

There’s a bear in my jacuzzi! just another day in the life, lol!

ClimateChangeIsReal August 1, 2023 - 1:39 am

This is exactly why we need to take climate change seriously! The poor are suffering the most.


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