Another Hot(ter) Summer In Phoenix
Did this summer feel particularly hot? Well, it was the hottest summer on record for Phoenix, and don’t be surprised if it keeps getting hotter as the Phoenix area builds out…
Hot, hot, HOT!
The summer of 2013 brought in a new level of heat to the Phoenix desert. Temperatures hovered near the 120 degree mark, and was often above 110 degrees. This type of heat burns and literally hurts. Grabbing a steering wheel with your bare hands in that kind of heat is a nasty reminder. It’s very common to see door handles for businesses covered with a cloth material (much like an oven mitt) to prevent customers from burning their hands when they reach for the handle.
So How Hot Was It??
According to this article, the statistics come directly from the National Weather Service. The average temperature between June and August was 95.1 degrees.
The National Weather Service points to urbanization as the primary cause of the rising temperatures. With more buildings, houses, streets and pavement to absorb and store the heat, the air temperature does not have a chance to cool down at night. It’s not the high temperatures that’s causing the average temperature to rise, it’s the rise of the low temperatures. The average low temperature for Phoenix is 2013 was 83.7 degrees!
Most areas of the country enjoy temperatures in the 80’s as their highs, while the low temperature in Phoenix never dips below 80 in the summer. It’s an odd sensation to be outside at night and you can feel heat emanate from the street below you or from the house or building nearby.
The Calendar Says Autumn, But the Thermometer Says Otherwise
I find it amazing how the seasons change on the calendar, but not in Arizona. I would not recognize the arrival of Autumn if it weren’t for the television and Internet telling me summer was over. It’s still in the 90’s and 100’s in the Phoenix area, whereas Autumn to me is when leaves (from real trees) turn orange and a chill is in the air.
When I turn on the television, I notice there are commercials about Autumn and I see people wearing light jackets. Then, I go outside and the sun burns relentlessly…unless, of course, there is a dust storm blowing in.
When The Weather Finally Cools Down, Enjoy It…But Don’t Get Summer Amnesia!
The so-called Phoenix winters ARE nice and comfortable. Although, it’s not truly winter weather…it’s just sunny and comfortable. When the cooler temperatures arrive, I’ve noticed the traffic to NoArizona slows down. Then, when summer rolls back around the activity picks back up. Why is that?
My theory is that WE EASILY FORGET! When it’s nice enough to actually go outside, people (me, included) tend to forget about the relentless summers! Although I miss a true winter, I enjoy being able to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. The 110+ degree temperatures are far from my mind during that time!
It’s part of a vicious cycle that keeps some people (me, included) in Arizona. We curse and complain during the summer and vow to move, but then we put that thought on the back burner when it cools down. During the cooler months (there are about 4 months), you will often hear people say things like “this is why we live here”. But, what do they say during the summer that starts in May and ends in October?
Arizona Weather FAQ
Based on queries from the web logs, people are finding NoArizona when searching for topics about the weather in Arizona. I thought I would post answers to some of the most common search terms. If your question is not answered here, feel free to contact me.
Q: Why is Arizona / Phoenix so hot?
A: Although I’m not a weather expert, I wrote this article explaining the dynamics of the Arizona heat based upon my research.
Q: Why is Phoenix so polluted?
A: Primarily, because Phoenix lies in a valley surrounded by mountains. Read more about Arizona pollution in this article.
Q: What causes Arizona dust storms (haboobs) and what are the dangers of being caught in one?
A: They’re caused by storm fronts blowing across the desert. Please see this article for more detailed information. The biggest danger of dust storms is contracting Valley Fever.
Q: What are Urban Heat Islands (UHI) aka “the heat bubble effect”.
A: UHI’s are created by man-made structures that capture heat and make it even hotter in the desert. Read this article for more information.
Q: What are the challenges to living in the Arizona desert?
A: Too many! Please read the articles filed under the Arizona Weather Category.
Q: How much water do I need to drink while in Arizona?
A: Without exertion, the average person loses THREE GALLONS of water per day, so you need to drink that much just to maintain. More detailed information can be found in this article.
Q: How do you get acclimated to the Arizona heat? Do you ever get used to the heat?
A: I’m sorry to say, you never get used to it. Your blood gets thinner living in Arizona. No, your blood doesn’t actually thin as if you were on an aspirin regimen! What I mean by that is anything below 60 degrees feels cold to you. As for the summer heat, you never truly get used to it…you just know what to expect. I’ve been here many summers, and I’m still not used to it.
Q: How long does the heat last?
A: You can count on 100+ degree weather starting in April and lasting until October. Arizona typically deals with 6-8 months of hot weather. Don’t let the Chamber of Commerce or the Arizona Tourism Board fool when they say it’s only 3-4 months of hot weather. And please, don’t fall for the “dry heat” excuse. It should really be called “you’re an ant under a magnifying glass heat”.
No Arizona provides information about Arizona and reveals the truth about life in the desert based on facts and observations.
Want to know more about Arizona that you can’t find elsewhere?