Excessive heat warning extended again, will be longest ever in metro Phoenix

Jul 10, 2023, 10:02 AM | Updated: Jul 11, 2023, 6:23 am

PHOENIX – As metro Phoenix’s unrelenting heat wave continues, the region’s ongoing excessive heat warning has been stretched to a record length.

An excessive heat warning that started July 1 has been extended multiple times and is now set to run through Monday, which would be 17 days, obliterating the previous mark.

The National Weather Service started issuing excessive heat warnings in 2006. Until now, the longest warning lasted 10 days (June 17-26, 2017), a milestone that was matched Monday.

Meteorologist Chris Kuhlman of the National Weather Service in Phoenix said the new record, in part, reflects a change in how excessive heat warnings are issued.

“In previous years, we probably would have canceled it for a few days and then issued it again,” Kuhlman told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday morning. “But now, especially on the weekends, when it’s really borderline we tend to keep one out and not just cancel it.”

Even though the Valley spent a record 49 days under excessive heat warnings in 2020, the longest warning that year lasted nine days.

Phoenix piling up days at 110 degrees or higher

Meanwhile, Phoenix is more than halfway to the record for most consecutive days with high temperatures of 110 degrees or hotter. Sunday was the 10th day in a row in that range at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which the National Weather Service uses for its official readings for the city.

There’s a 50% chance of tying or breaking the record of 18 days set in June 1974, the National Weather Service said Sunday night.

How hot will it get in Phoenix this week?

Phoenix temperatures are expected to hit just above 110 degrees Monday and Tuesday, move closer to 115 by midweek and reach a sizzling 117 over the weekend.

This month’s heat wave is out of the ordinary, even for the Valley’s typically sweltering summers, Kuhlman said.

“Normally when we have really excessive heat, we’ll have at least a little bit of a break … like we did in 2020, where we had like three or four really long events, but they were more like 10 days in a row, then we’d have a two- or three-day break of high temperatures in the low 100s because we had some rain in the area,” he said.

How to beat the Arizona heat

Too much time in the Arizona sun can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death.

Warning signs of heat-related illnesses can include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and nausea.

Outdoor activities should be curtailed between sunrise and sunset during periods of excessive heat. People should also drink more water than usual and avoid sugary, caffeinated drinks, which dehydrate the body.

Per a city of Phoenix policy that aims to protect hikers and rescue crews, Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon and Cholla trails and all Piestewa Peak trails are closed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on days with excessive heat warnings,

Dogs aren’t allowed on Phoenix trails when the temperature is in triple digits.

Planning agency Maricopa Association of Governments operates the regional Heat Relief Network annually from May 1 to Sept. 30. The program includes an interactive online map showing the location of more than 200 cooling centers, respite centers, hydration stations and collection sites.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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Excessive heat warning extended again, will be longest ever in metro Phoenix