You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Phoenix hits 50th day of 110 degrees; previous record 'obliterated'

Arizona Republic logo Arizona Republic 8/29/2020 Emily Wilder and Ian James, Arizona Republic

Friday marked the 50th day to reach 110 degrees or higher in the Valley this year, setting a record nobody wanted.

Before 2020, the previous record for most days in a calendar year to reach 110 degrees was 33 days set in 2011. Phoenix surpassed that on Aug. 9 and has beat it almost every day since then.

Phoenix passed the scorching milestone on Friday afternoon when the temperature at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport hit 111 degrees. 

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

"It's not like we barely broke this record," said National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Hirsch. "We sort of obliterated it."

The heat, Hirsch explained, is largely a result of persistent high pressure this summer. High pressure normally produces warmer than average temperatures. Those conditions were exacerbated by an uncharacteristically dry summer. Phoenix experienced less than 4 inches of rainfall since the beginning of the year.

Smoke from fires across Arizona and California are causing poor air quality and darkening the sunrise in Phoenix on Aug. 26, 2020. © Rob Schumacher/The Republic Smoke from fires across Arizona and California are causing poor air quality and darkening the sunrise in Phoenix on Aug. 26, 2020.

For more stories that matter, subscribe to azcentral.com. Labor Day sale: $1 for 3 months.

"When you don't have moisture to cool it down, excessive heat can persist," Hirsch said. "Essentially, we didn't get any relief from monsoon storms."

Forecasters expect some of that relief this weekend, with a good chance of thunderstorms and heavy rain from Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning. A flash flood watch was issued for central Arizona, to begin at noon on Saturday.

FATAL HEAT: Rising temperatures day and night kill more people each year

With the rain comes cooler temperatures. The Valley may finally see a sub-100 degree high temperature on Sunday.

Average temperatures have been rising with human-caused climate change, and this summer has brought record heat in places across the Southwest.

In the Phoenix area, the urban heat-island effect contributes to hotter temperatures. The vast areas of concrete and asphalt soak up heat from the sun during the day and radiate it at night, pushing temperatures higher than in other undeveloped areas. 

National Weather Service data for Phoenix shows that during the summer months from June through August, the average temperature during the 2010s was 3.1 degrees hotter than during the 1970s.

Reach the reporter at emily.wilder@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @vv1lder.

POLICE USE OF FORCE

■ FOR SUBSCRIBERS
Do police treat people of color differently? A Republic investigation shows how much.

POLICE USE OF FORCE

Do police treat people of color differently? A Republic investigation shows how much.

Our analysis of 10 years of Phoenix data:

READ IT: Force used at higher rates against Black, Native American and Latino residents

SEE IT: 8 charts prove force disproportionate by population, arrest rate, neighborhood

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix hits 50th day of 110 degrees; previous record 'obliterated'

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Arizona Republic

Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon