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Latest News in Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix braves relentless wave of extreme heat in US Southwest
July 15 (Reuters) - Michael Shields has serviced swimming pools in the Phoenix area for years, enough time to hone a strategy for surviving the brutal heat that descends on this Arizona desert city every summer.He typically rises at 4 a.m., covers himself in protective clothing, loads up on electrolyte drinks and drenches his hands and face in sunscreen. Ready to face the inferno, he arrives at his first customer's home well before dawn, when the temperature is already in the mid-90s Fahrenheit.There are days when the mercury c...
July 15 (Reuters) - Michael Shields has serviced swimming pools in the Phoenix area for years, enough time to hone a strategy for surviving the brutal heat that descends on this Arizona desert city every summer.
He typically rises at 4 a.m., covers himself in protective clothing, loads up on electrolyte drinks and drenches his hands and face in sunscreen. Ready to face the inferno, he arrives at his first customer's home well before dawn, when the temperature is already in the mid-90s Fahrenheit.
There are days when the mercury climbs to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in the summer here. But over the past two weeks, the mercury has hit 110 degrees F (43 C) or higher every afternoon, a streak of extreme temperatures that could stretch into next week, breaking Phoenix's 1974 record of 18 consecutive days, forecasters say.
Nearly a third of U.S. residents, from Oregon to Texas, are under heat warnings as an extreme heat wave bakes the West and Southwest United States because of a high-pressure dome of air overhead that prevents rain from reaching the areas below.
In Phoenix, centered squarely under the dome, the temperature had already hit 109 F (43 C) as of noon on Saturday, and was set to hit a high of 115 F (46 C), climbing to 116 (47 C) on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
It has been a heat wave that has given pause to many Phoenix residents, even to summer-tested veterans like Shields, who says he's been avoiding news reports about it.
"I don't look at the weather," said Shields, 67. "I can get psyched out that way."
Climate Check, a climate-focused real-estate analysis group, reported that between 1985 and 2005, Phoenix experienced about seven days a year above 109 F (43 C). By 2050, they estimated, Phoenix residents are expected to see an average of 44 days per year over that temperature.
Heat-related deaths in Phoenix’s Maricopa County have risen over the last few years, increasing from 338 in 2021 to 425 last year. So far in 2023, there have been 12 heat-related deaths, with 55 still under investigation.
Emergency service workers and a government office focused on helping the city deal with the heat have distributed bottled water to homeless people and encourage them to seek shelter in several public cooling stations.
Some of the cooling stations are extending their hours into the night, said David Hondula, who directs the city's Office of Heat Response and Mitigation.
This summer, the city has nearly doubled the number of volunteers handing out water, hats and sunscreen, he said, adding it has plans to offer grants to help people plant more trees to increase shade.
Hiking trails at nearby Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain have been closed during the hottest hours of the day. Phoenix Parks and Recreation spokesman Adam Waltz said the temperatures on the unshaded portions of the trails can hit 130 or 140 degrees (54 or 60 C), as the sun beats down and heat rises off the earth.
Outdoor kids' sports have mostly already wrapped up due to the punishing summers, ending around June and starting up again in September, Waltz said.
Despite the trend toward more very hot days, Phoenix residents have tended to shrug off the heat, he said. They are simply accustomed to dealing with it.
But the long-term warming trend - with nights that don't cool down and asphalt and concrete that retain heat and themselves can help push up temperatures - is worrisome.
"People outside of Phoenix see 113 or 114 and gasp," Waltz said. "We usually take cover around 118 or 119. But it's very hot and dangerous."
Heat can affect health, leading to exhaustion, dizziness, thirst or the more serious heatstroke, when the body's core temperature goes above 105 degrees F (40 degrees C).
HEAT DOME 'PARKED' OVERHEAD
The heat wave spreading across a swath of the U.S. from Oregon, down the West Coast, into the Southwest including Texas and on to Alabama is unusual said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
There's a mass of high pressure air sitting like a dome "parked" over the affected area and deflecting any rain and storm systems that could provide relief to the 100 million people under heat warnings and cautions, said Taylor.
Phoenix is getting some of the worst of it, as the air mass is centered right over the Southwest.
"It's been anchored there for days and days," Taylor said. "This is not your typical summer heat."
After reaching 115 F (46 C) on Saturday and 116 (47 C) on Sunday temperatures are forecast to stay above 110 F (43 C) through next week, the weather service said.
Las Vegas is expected to hit 115 F on Saturday and 118 F (47 C) on Sunday; Death Valley might hit 127 (53 C) on Saturday and 130 (54 C) on Sunday, the agency said.
Scientists say fossil fuel-driven climate change is bringing hotter and deadlier temperatures, warning that the world needs to drastically cut carbon emissions to prevent its catastrophic effects.
Outside of Phoenix in Mesa on Friday, science intern Emily Luberto covered up in long sleeves, pants and hiking boots to collect soil samples for a project studying the Valley Fever illness.
Her group had hopes of beating some of the heat by arriving early. But by 8:30 a.m., temperatures had already surpassed 100 (38 C).
Asphalt temperatures can reach 160 degrees F (71 C) in the summer, the Arizona Humane Society wrote on its blog.
The sidewalks and streets are so hot that dog walker Cooper Burton will not take animals out after 9 a.m.
"We don't want their paws to burn," he said.
Reporting by Sharon Bernstein, Rachel Nostrant and Rich McKay; Writing by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Jonathan Oatis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Horror footage shows propane tanks blasting 'like missiles' near airport runway
A HUGE fire near the Phoenix airport sparked chaos after flames triggered explosions and damaged dozens of cars.The fire tore through an Arizona propane business on Thursday and sent tanks of gas flying 500 yards into the air like "missiles."Firefighters battled the flames next to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport beginning at around 5pm while enduring record-breaking 119-degree ...
A HUGE fire near the Phoenix airport sparked chaos after flames triggered explosions and damaged dozens of cars.
The fire tore through an Arizona propane business on Thursday and sent tanks of gas flying 500 yards into the air like "missiles."
Firefighters battled the flames next to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport beginning at around 5pm while enduring record-breaking 119-degree heat.
Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade called the situation at the propane shop "very dangerous," adding of the gas tanks: "They literally become missiles."
More than 150 firefighters raced to the scene and cleared a mile radius around the business.
The blaze forced the Arizona Animal Welfare League to evacuate as a precaution.
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One building north of the propane business briefly caught fire but crews put it out, according to PFD Captain Scott Douglas.
Local reporters said they heard multiple explosions and photos showed charred vehicles at an airport parking lot.
Dozens of cars were damaged, according to local news outlet KTVK.
No injuries were reported as firefighters stamped out the flames.
Videos showed dark black smoke billowing from the building and filling the atmosphere of the city.
The blaze caused serious problems for crews who had to surround it and lessen the intensity so they could turn off the gas.
The brave first responders were seen using ladder pipes to spray massive streams of water from above.
The fire burned through the building and caused the roof to collapse, according to local reporters.
Crews blocked access to Gateway Community College, and Valley Metro said rail trains heading west were stopping at a nearby station.
The unpredictable blaze came in the middle of crushing heat as Phoenix experienced its hottest day of the year.
The 119 degrees in Phoenix smashed a previous record high, according to the National Weather Service.
By the time the fire was out, hundreds of propane tanks were scattered around the neighborhood.
"Firefighters isolated the hazard area, evacuated multiple homes and businesses, and attacked the flames with elevated master streams," the fire department said in an update.
"The fire was then surrounded and the bursting tanks cooled stopping the explosions."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
A spokesperson for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport confirmed it had no impact on airport operations.
Parts of Arizona have seen 110-degree temperatures every day this month. And it’s about to get hotter
CNN —Arizonans have endured scorching temperatures for more than two weeks and that hot streak is about to get even hotter, with a brutal heat wave starting to take shape ahead of the weekend.Temperatures in Phoenix have reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit every single day this month. On Wednesday, the city’s high was 111 degrees, making it the third longest streak in history during whic...
Arizonans have endured scorching temperatures for more than two weeks and that hot streak is about to get even hotter, with a brutal heat wave starting to take shape ahead of the weekend.
Temperatures in Phoenix have reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit every single day this month. On Wednesday, the city’s high was 111 degrees, making it the third longest streak in history during which Phoenix recorded continuous temperatures of at least 110 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The longest streak, set in 1974, was 18 days.
Meteorologists expect the weekend heat will be record-breaking, reaching a staggering 119 degrees in some parts. “The Southwest often has the hottest temperatures in the country during the summer months, but this is not your typical summer heat wave,” CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward said. “Over the coming days many locations will experience some of the top 10 temperatures they have ever recorded.
“This type of heat has to be taken seriously as heat stress can occur very quickly for those out in the elements.”
The dangerous temperatures track with the rest of the world’s soaring climate records amid a crisis that’s heating up the planet fast. Scientists have warned there’s a growing likelihood that 2023 could be the Earth’s hottest year on record.
Over the next week, nearly 70% of all Americans will see a high temperature at or above 90 degrees, while more than 55 million people will see temperatures at or above 100 degrees.
In Arizona, an excessive heat warning is in effect through much of the state, including Maricopa County, home to the state’s capital city.
And the oppressive heat there won’t just get worse – it’ll expand, reaching further west into California and Nevada with several locations in the region expected to tie or break their all-time high temperature records by the weekend, according to the Weather Prediction Center.
“Dangerous heat is coming,” the National Weather Service in Las Vegas said Tuesday. “Temperatures later this week may challenge daily and all-time records, with little-to-no overnight relief.”
Further east, in parts of the Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast – which have also been searing in high temperatures – the heat and humidity will make it feel warmer than 115 degrees this week, the prediction center said.
“It is imperative,” the prediction center warned, that people take action “to limit their exposure to the oppressive hot weather as it looks to stick around for the time being.”
In Arizona’s Yavapai County, authorities found a “severely dehydrated” Buddhist monk who went missing Saturday evening after not returning from a walk, according to a Facebook post from the sheriff’s office.
The monk was located the next day about 20 to 25 miles from the temple he had started his walk from and was checked by medical professionals who found he was dehydrated, the sheriff’s office said.
The state’s Department of Public Safety has urged Arizona residents to ensure they’ve stocked their cars with water, sun protection and have with them charged phones and plenty of gas, amid the dangerous heat.
CNN’s Sara Smart contributed to this report.
Another week of heat: 24 days of 110-degree temps, 30% chance of showers this evening
With the excessive heat warning for the Phoenix area extended until Wednesday, more record-breaking heat is expected to continue, but rainy conditions have the potential to expel some relief.Saturday set another daily record high in Phoenix at 118 degrees, which broke the previous record of 116 degrees set in 2006. It was the 23rd consecutive day with highs reaching 110 degrees or above in Phoenix and the sixth consecutive day of high temperatures of at least 115 degrees, which tied for the record of the longest streak ...
With the excessive heat warning for the Phoenix area extended until Wednesday, more record-breaking heat is expected to continue, but rainy conditions have the potential to expel some relief.
Saturday set another daily record high in Phoenix at 118 degrees, which broke the previous record of 116 degrees set in 2006. It was the 23rd consecutive day with highs reaching 110 degrees or above in Phoenix and the sixth consecutive day of high temperatures of at least 115 degrees, which tied for the record of the longest streak on record.
But the Phoenix area did get some rainy relief around 11 p.m. with scattered rainstorms, heavy winds and 0.04 inch of rain recorded at two locations: Jackson and Seventh streets and 27th Avenue and Durango Street in Phoenix.
Sunday should bring even more rainy conditions to the Valley with a 30% chance of showers throughout the Phoenix area between 4 and 8 p.m. and later into the evening.
"There will be plenty of gusty winds and some blowing dust and hopefully a few locations will see some measurable rainfall," Phoenix National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Frieders said.
Due to this precipitation, a slight drop in temperatures compared to Saturday's heat was also forecast, as Sunday was expected to have a high of 116 degrees and a low of 92 degrees. Temperatures this afternoon have propelled Phoenix into the 24th straight day of temperatures of more than 110 degrees.
If Phoenix hits 115 degrees or more on Sunday, it would be the seventh consecutive day of at least 115 degrees and would become the longest streak of that occurring on record.
Excessive heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service have persisted for weeks, seeing constant extensions and currently lasting until Wednesday for the Phoenix area and many surrounding counties.
The excessive highs aren't the only problem. Record-high lows, meaning low temperatures that are higher than usual, have accompanied the sweltering temperatures, adding yet another challenge for cooling down. Saturday and Sunday continued the streak, producing 14 consecutive days with lows of more than 90 degrees.
Phoenix's delayed and uneventful monsoon season plummeted the metro area into a new record on Friday: four months without rain, the sixth-longest stretch of time without measurable rainfall recorded at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport since the record-keeping began. Saturday night finally changed that, and the rainy conditions were expected to remain.
"The risk starts to go down a little bit for storms after (Sunday). ... It looks like Tuesday and Wednesday for the most part we dry out a bit," Frieders said. "Then by late Friday, into the weekend, we may see chances up to around 30% again for thunderstorms in the Valley."
Monday has a 20% chance of showers with a high of 113 degrees. Tuesday and Wednesday were forecast to return to drier weather with no chance of showers. Tuesday is expected to have a high of 115 degrees while Wednesday should reach 113 degrees.
For next weekend, chances of showers jump back up to a 20-30% chance. This should have an effect on temperature toward the end of the week, according to Frieders.
"Once we get later in the week and into the weekend, we're hoping that the thunderstorm coverage does increase and that temperatures get a few degrees cooler, hopefully closer to that 110 to 112 degrees category," Frieders said.
Here's a look at how the week of heat has fared so far.
Sunday, July 23: If forecast rings true, Sunday will mark longest 115-degree streak on record
Sunday afternoon's temperatures surmounted Phoenix into 24 consecutive days of over 110-degree temperatures. A 116-degree afternoon was forecast, and if that is recorded, it will be the longest 115-degree streak on record at seven consecutive days.
However, a 30% chance of rain was forecast for this evening, bringing gusty winds, clouds of dust and potential scattered showers across the Valley.
Saturday, July 22: New daily record high, 6th consecutive day of highs over 115 degrees
Soaring Phoenix into a new daily record high, Saturday's heat reached 118 degrees at the peak of the afternoon, breaking the previous daily record of 116 degrees set in 2006. Saturday continued the non-stop excessive heat warnings and pushed the National Weather Service to extend warnings until Tuesday.
Saturday was the 23rd consecutive day with highs reaching 110 degrees or above in Phoenix and was the sixth consecutive day of high temps of at least 115 degrees, which tied for the record of longest streak of such temp. It was also the 13th day of consecutive record-high low temperatures over 90 degrees.
Luckily, scattered storms brought relief to the Phoenix area around 11 p.m. with about 0.4 inches of rain reported at two different locations in Phoenix.
Friday, July 21: Record high-low temperatures break record at 12 straight days and 4 months without rain
Friday introduced some further records in Phoenix which are:
Thursday, July 20: Record high-low temperatures tie 2020 mark at 11 straight days, new daily Phoenix high, 4th straight day of 115 degrees
Thursday afternoon saw the previous daily high record set earlier in the day smashed, as temperatures at Phoenix Sky Harbor reached 119 degrees for the second time in two days. The previous daily record was 114 degrees, and according to the National Weather Service, this was the seventh time ever that 119 degrees was reached at Sky Harbor.
Thursday morning saw the low temperature recorded at Sky Harbor to be 93 degrees. While not as bad compared with Wednesday's all-time record-setting low of 97 degrees, topping the formerly first-place slot set in 2003, Thursday's warm-low did its job in keeping the consecutive day streak of a low temperature of 90 degrees or above alive.
Now, at 11 days straight, 2023 has tied the number of days with such a warm-low record set in 2020.
Just after 12:30 p.m., temperatures at Sky Harbor reached 115 degrees, setting a new daily high for July 20. In addition to the record-setting date, the weather service noted that it was also the fourth straight day that temperatures reached 115 degrees in Phoenix.
Wednesday, July 19: All-time warm-lows, highest daily and average temperature for the Valley, streaks continue in Phoenix and Tucson
Wednesday produced a slew of records across the board, boasting highs in Phoenix for:
Tucson's streak of consecutive days at or above 110 degrees grew too, climbing to 11, surpassing the previous record of 10 days set in both 1990 and 1994.
Additionally, Tucson shattered its warm-low temperature record Wednesday as well. A low of 86 degrees recorded at the Tucson Airport was enough to outdo the original record set in 1979 at 83 degrees.
Tuesday, July 18: Daily records broken, streaks continue
Tuesday was obviously much of the same, as the 110 or above streak continued rolling, marking 20 days in Phoenix at that point while also producing a new daily high of 118 degrees, torching the previous record of 115 degrees set in 1989.
The daily high in Tucson was beaten as well, as the city hit 112 degrees, eclipsing previous highs of 109 established in 1989 and 1992.
Monday, July 17: Streak of lows above 90 degrees continued in Phoenix, third-latest rainfall during monsoon season in Tucson
Monday in Phoenix saw its streak of lows at or above 90 degrees increase to eight, while in Tucson, the city received some much-needed rain, setting the record for the third-latest date in the monsoon to record measurable rainfall.
Hot weather tips
The Arizona Department of Health Services provided tips to prevent heat-related illness:
The Valley of the Sun has catered to its name this July with heat records broken every day in the Phoenix area, and Friday's projected temperatures are expected to continue the streak.
If Friday's forecasted temperatures ring true, Phoenix will spiral into the 23rd straight day of days above 110 degrees with no signs of stopping, as these temperatures are forecasted to continue into the weekend.
Friday's high temperature is forecasted to hit 119 degrees in the afternoon, however, National Weather Service Phoenix meteorologist Ryan Worley said they are not confident Phoenix will see that high of a temperature today due to increased unexpected overnight moisture. It's more likely that 115 degrees will register.
Phoenix hits 110 degrees for the 19th day in a row, setting national record
Phoenix has broken the record for most consecutive days at 110 degrees or higher.Now at 19 straight days with temperatures at or above 110 degrees, this breaks the previous record set in 1974.The forecast high of 116 degrees on Tuesday would also break the record high for the date set in 1989, according to the National Weather Service.The agency tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that the temperature at Sky Harbor International Airport ultimately reached 118 degrees. It's the highest temperature Phoenix has reac...
Phoenix has broken the record for most consecutive days at 110 degrees or higher.
Now at 19 straight days with temperatures at or above 110 degrees, this breaks the previous record set in 1974.
The forecast high of 116 degrees on Tuesday would also break the record high for the date set in 1989, according to the National Weather Service.
The agency tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that the temperature at Sky Harbor International Airport ultimately reached 118 degrees. It's the highest temperature Phoenix has reached so far this year, though it reached 118 degrees before on July 15.
Temperatures are not expected to let up in Phoenix, with temperatures forecast to be above 110 degrees for the remainder of the week.
National Weather Service meteorologist Sean Benedict spoke on the causes of the current elevated temperatures in the area.
“We're able to really heat up when we're not having the moisture and the storms, we're getting 5 to 10 degrees above normal in some cases,” Benedict said.
According to Kenneth Kunkel, an atmospheric scientist at North Carolina State University, the current heat wave that Phoenix has seen has been unprecedented, not only here but nationally.
“If you look at large U.S. cities, this particular heat wave by a couple of metrics seems to be unprecedented,” Kunkel said. “We're now on the ninth day that Phoenix has not fallen under 90 degrees at night; that's a record for larger U.S. cities.”
The only other place in the country with a longer record is the small city of Needles, California, on the Arizona-California border with a streak of 11 days with lows above 90.
“For larger U.S. cities, this current heat wave is unprecedented," Kunkel said.
Global warming is only heating things up
Although a high-pressure system is currently causing this relentless heat wave across parts of the Southwest, Kunkel also believes global warming is adding more ingredients to the mix.
“Certainly overall global warming is probably adding some to this,” Kunkel said. “We’ve seen certainly in the Southwest a trend over the last two to three decades of ever-warming temperatures."
Arizona breaks records
Tuesday’s record is only one in a long list of weather records that have been shattered by the state during the last couple of weeks. Here are all of the various records that recent scorching temperatures have broken or tied in the last couple of weeks:
Tuesday afternoon also saw another scorching record being broken with the high-reaching 116 degrees, breaking a 34-year-old record of 115 set back in 1989.
Tuesday morning in Phoenix, the daily low was 94 degrees, 9 degrees hotter than normal and breaking the record-warm low for the day.
On Monday, the record for the longest stretch of consecutive days with lows of 90 degrees and above was broken, with the previous record being seven straight days. As of Tuesday, the record continues to be extended to nine days.
Tucson had a similar record-breaking streak, with last Friday seeing the Tucson airport recording a low temperature above 85 degrees for the fourth day in a row. The previous record was for three days.
July 8 saw the Phoenix area break the record for most days under an excessive heat warning. The previous record was of eight days, with the current streak more than doubling the previous record. The area has been under such warning since July 1 and is currently in place until at least Friday night.
July 10 saw Tucson break the same record but only by a few hours. Their warning lasted for almost seven days, instead lasting for six days, 16 hours from July 2 to July 9. The previous record was less than three years old, being set in August 2020 when the warning lasted for six days and 10 hours.
Last Thursday, a daily record was broken, with the high temperature recorded at Sky Harbor Airport being 114 degrees. This was seven degrees above normal and tying a record set in 2020.
During the weekend, on Saturday, the record high for that day was tied in Phoenix with the temperature reaching a boiling 118 degrees.
Nine different places in Arizona including Flagstaff, Payson, and Page set a new daily record high on Sunday. The Flagstaff Airport was one degree short from tying its all-time record high of 97 degrees.
Tucson broke a daily high record on Sunday, reaching 111 degrees and also surpassing the previous record by one degree.
Hot weather tips
The Arizona Department of Health Services provided tips to prevent heat-related illness: