Valley could see widespread storms this weekend after bout of extreme heat

Aug 16, 2023, 11:25 AM | Updated: 11:27 am

A man overlooks downtown Phoenix at sunset atop South Mountain. The Valley is under an excessive he...

A man overlooks downtown Phoenix at sunset atop South Mountain. The Valley is under an excessive heat warning Aug. 16-17, 2023, and could see widespread storms later in the week. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX – The thunderstorms that hit parts of metro Phoenix on Tuesday night might have been the start of an eventful stretch of local weather.

This week’s forecast calls for a bout of extreme heat, which is nothing new this summer, followed by (fingers crossed) possible widespread storms and cooler temperatures.

An excessive heat warning went into effect Wednesday morning and runs until 8 p.m. Thursday. Highs those days are expected to exceed 110 degrees.

After that, the Valley could finally see its first significant storms of what has been a feeble monsoon season.

When will Phoenix get a major monsoon storm?

“Looking at the next few days, our chances overall will be mainly pretty low, so anywhere maybe mainly around 20% or less,” Isaac Smith, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday morning. “But we’ll start seeing those chances really ramp up as we head into this weekend.”

A tropical storm system in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Mexico is expected to move north over Baja California and into California in the coming days.

The system could result in widespread showers and thunderstorms in the Valley, Smith said.

“We will be looking at some very decent rain chances out there across the south-central Arizona area, including the Phoenix area,” Smith said. “So, we’re going to be looking at our storm chances climbing upwards of 60-70% this weekend.”

The system could also bring temperatures down, with highs below 100 possible Saturday and Sunday. Phoenix’s last day under triple digits was June 13, when it topped out at 96 degrees.

Phoenix’s official rainless streak continues

While much of central Phoenix had storm activity Tuesday night and early Wednesday, the rain missed the gauges at Sky Harbor International Airport, which the National Weather Service uses for the city’s official readings.

The airport station hasn’t detected precipitation since March 22, a streak of 146 days through Tuesday.

Phoenix’s only longer rainless streak was 160 days from December 1971 to June 1972.

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

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Valley could see widespread storms this weekend after bout of extreme heat