Heat Wave Forecast: Slightly Cooler in NoPho
See our final wrap-up
Records Set in the Phoenix Heat Wave of June 2017
UPDATE Sunday, June 18: The forecast has moderated slightly (new story).
It may come as little consolation, but when temperatures surge near or beyond record levels across the region in the next few days, most of NoPho will be slightly less scorching than downtown Phoenix. Especially at night.
The National Weather Service predicts a “dangerous and deadly” heat wave, even tweeting this morning that it will be “Supremely dangerous & DEADLY!” Peak temperatures —around 120 degrees in downtown Phoenix and other desert locations — are expected Monday, June 19 and Tuesday, June 20. The record high for those days at Sky Harbor Airport, where the city’s official temperatures are recorded, were both set just last year, and both are in jeopardy of being toppled:
- June 19: 118 (set in 2016)
- June 20: 116 (set in 2016)
The all-time record high for any day at Sky Harbor is 122 degrees, achieved June 26, 1990.
Higher & Cooler
Compared to the sweltering heat at Sky Harbor, suburbs and rural areas tend to be naturally cooler, especially at night, due to what scientists call the urban heat-island effect: Pavement and rooftops absorb more heat than natural landscapes during the day, and release that heat gradually overnight.
Elevation plays a role, too, meteorologists say. Most NoPho communities are from 300 to 600 feet higher than Sky Harbor. In Anthem and New River, some homes are more than 1,000 feet above downtown.
All this means summer heat tends to be slightly more bearable at Deer Valley Airport, and even a bit cooler in neighborhoods that abut the mountains. Here’s the forecast, as of Friday morning:
Note that some private forecast companies, including Accuweather and WeatherBug, predict slightly lower temperatures for each of the above locations on some days and nights.
Health officials advise people to stay indoors during extreme heat or, if you must be outside, use extreme caution and know the risks, preventive measures and signs of heat exhaustion. Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in Maricopa County and Arizona.