Phoenix sets record for its warmest low temperature ever at 97 degrees

Jul 19, 2023, 8:31 AM | Updated: 12:21 pm

A patron tries to cool off at the Justa Center as temperatures are expected to hit 116-degrees Fahr...

A patron tries to cool off at the Justa Center as temperatures are expected to hit 116-degrees Fahrenheit, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Another day, another heat record for Phoenix.

The low temperature Wednesday morning was 97 degrees, the highest low ever recorded in Phoenix, according to the National Weather Service.

The previous warm low was 96 degrees on July 15, 2003.

Meanwhile, the city’s record-setting streak of 110-degree days stretched to 20 when the mercury reached the mark before 11 a.m.

Wednesday was the third time in the last seven days with a low temperature of 95 degrees or hotter in Phoenix, according to the National Weather Service. Previously, there were only six days ever documented with lows in that range.

In addition, Phoenix’s ongoing streak of daily lows of at least 90 degrees stretched to 10 consecutive days, three days longer than the previous record.

Phoenix broke daily heat record Tuesday at 118 degrees

National Weather Service records date back to 1896. The agency uses Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for its official readings for the city. Other areas of the Valley saw Wednesday morning low temperatures in the low-90s.

The warm low record came the morning after Phoenix shattered its daily high mark Tuesday by hitting 118 degrees. The previous high for July 18 was 115 in 1989.

Tuesday was Phoenix’s 19th consecutive day with temperatures reaching at least 110 degrees, breaking the record streak of 18 days set in June 1974.

According to weather historian Christopher Burt of the Weather Company, no other major U.S. city has seen a longer stretch of days reaching at least 110 degrees.

Phoenix’s high and low hot streaks are expected to continue for at least another week.

Sean Benedict, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday the forecast calls for lows in the 90s and highs over 110 for the next seven days.

“It’s shaping up to be the hottest month ever right now with the way it’s going,” he said.

What’s causing excessive heat to linger in Phoenix?

Benedict said the city’s heat wave is caused by a combination of factors.

He said a “heat island” that traps heat overnight typically makes Sky Harbor one of the Phoenix’s warmest locations.

“We’re not able to really cool as quickly as you would out in an open desert. So that factor as well as just overall very strong high pressure lead to these very hot afternoon temperatures,” he said.

Consistently high afternoon temperatures lead to toasty mornings, Benedict said.

“It’s got a long ways to cool down,” he said.

Valley remains under excessive heat warning

The Valley has been under an excessive heat warning for the entire month of July. On Wednesday, the expiration was moved back a day to 8 p.m. Saturday, and it could be extended again if conditions don’t change.

The National Weather issues excessive heat warnings to alert communities about potentially dangerous heat. The warnings, which began in 2006, are based on several parameters, not just temperatures.

The current warning, which entered its 19th day Wednesday, is the longest ever for the Valley.

Previously, the region’s longest excessive heat warning lasted 10 days in June 2017.

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

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Phoenix sets record for its warmest low temperature ever at 97 degrees