Gov. Katie Hobbs declares heat state of emergency amid Arizona summer’s record high temps

Aug 11, 2023, 4:06 PM

Phoenix heat...

A church sign reads 'It Is Hot' in the Phoenix metropolitan area on August 03, 2023 in Mesa, Arizona. The average temperature in Phoenix during July was 102.7 degrees, the highest monthly temperature ever for a U.S. city. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs signed an executive order to improve future statewide heat response efforts on Friday. She also declared a state of emergency in regards to this summer’s record temperatures.

Her announcement came 11 days after the Valley saw 31 consecutive days of 110+ degree weather.

“Extreme heat threatens our health. It can lead to illness, emergency room visits and even loss of life,” Hobbs said in a statement. “Arizonans deserve action.”

The heat state of emergency declaration will also open two new cooling centers on Capitol Mall grounds. The governor’s executive order 2023-16 will also erect two heat relief facilities in the same area.

Hobbs said she plans to work with state agencies to build a comprehensive plan to help Arizonans weather future heat waves. Her executive order will also:

– Formalize and centralize cooling center and heat relief coordination efforts around Arizona
– Propose policy changes to improve heat resiliency efforts
– Identify what resources the state needs to help residents survive future heat waves
– Find new ways to get Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding

Phoenix is coming off the hottest month ever recorded in a U.S. city, in July with an average temperature of 102.7 degrees, according to the Arizona State Climate Office.

The city’s 31 consecutive days of 110-degree weather smashed past the previous record of 18 set in June 1974.

This week, metro Phoenix also moved ahead of 2022’s record pace for heat-associated deaths.

Maricopa County Department of Public Health has now confirmed 59 heat-associated deaths in 2023, according to the agency’s weekly report for July 30-Aug. 5. The total surged by 20 since the previous week.

Another 345 deaths remained under investigation for possible heat factors.

Through the same number of weeks last year, the county had confirmed 44 heat-associated deaths and had 287 more under investigation.

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Gov. Katie Hobbs declares heat state of emergency amid Arizona summer’s record high temps