Low temperatures continue to rise as Phoenix remains in excessive heat warning

Jul 9, 2024, 4:35 AM

Low temperatures in Phoenix are on the rise in July. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...

Low temperatures in Phoenix are on the rise in July. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Phoenix is seeing similarly scorching temperatures to start this month as the record-setting July from last year, but a local climate expert is seeing a shift in one area.

Low temperatures are rising, a change Randy Cerveny, professor of geographical sciences at Arizona State University, believes is here to stay.

“I’m particularly concerned about those low temperatures, the minimum temperatures,” Cerveny told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday. “We’re seeing that those are dramatically increasing.”

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which the National Weather Service uses for the city’s official readings, hasn’t been under 90 degrees since July 1. Through seven days in July, the average low temperature has been 91.1 degrees. That’s about eight degrees above normal and a half-degree above July 2023, which was the hottest month ever recorded in a U.S. city.

Sunday’s low temperature of 92 degrees was Phoenix’s warmest low on that date in its history.

Cerveny believes triple-digit low temperatures could one day be a reality.

“I think before we hit 122 [degrees] again here in Phoenix, we will be getting 100-degree lows first because our low temperatures are going up much faster than our high temperatures are,” Cerveny said.

Why has it been so hot in Phoenix to start July?

It’s not just the unusually warm low temperatures that are wreaking havoc in Phoenix.

The city has recorded seven consecutive days of 110-degree weather, including hitting daily heat records on Friday and Monday.

Cerveny said there’s a good reason this level of heat has stuck around for as long as it has.

“With a ridge with high pressure, you’re getting sinking air so it’s kind of like we’re just compressing all the air above us down,” Cerveny said. “As you press something, it gets hotter, so all this sinking air just makes the entire area — not just Phoenix — but the entire area much hotter.”

Phoenix remains in an excessive heat warning through Thursday night.

After that, Phoenix will see some rain chances by early next week. Cerveny said it will be from a system from Mexico and the Gulf of California and not residual effects from Hurricane Beryl.

“So by this time next Monday, we’re looking at a pretty good chance of having thunderstorms across the entire state and even here in Phoenix,” Cerveny said. “The monsoon will be coming. It’s just going to take a few more days.”

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

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Low temperatures continue to rise as Phoenix remains in excessive heat warning