Phoenix has ended 31-day streak of highs at or above 110 degrees as rains ease a Southwest heat wave

Jul 31, 2023, 11:16 AM

A man overlooks downtown Phoenix at sunset atop South Mountain, Sunday, July 30, 2023. Phoenix hit ...

A man overlooks downtown Phoenix at sunset atop South Mountain, Sunday, July 30, 2023. Phoenix hit its 31st consecutive day of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius). The National Weather Service says the temperature climbed to a high of 111 degrees Fahrenheit before the day was through. Some slight relief may be on the way as seasonal thunderstorms could drop temperatures in Phoenix on Monday and Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX (AP) — A record string of daily highs over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) in Phoenix ended Monday as the dangerous heat wave that suffocated the Southwest throughout July receded slightly with cooling monsoon rains.

The historic heat began blasting the region in June, stretching from Texas across New Mexico and Arizona and into California’s desert. Phoenix and its suburbs sweltered more and longer than most, with several records including the 31 consecutive days of 110 degrees Fahrenheit-plus (43.4 degrees Celsius) weather. The previous record was 18 straight days, set in 1974.

The streak was finally broken Monday, when the high topped out at 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 Celsius) at 3:10 p.m.

“The high temperature for Phoenix today is 108 degrees,” Jessica Leffel, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said at 5 p.m. “I’m just getting ready to post it on our social media.”

Phoenix also sweated through a record 16 consecutive days when overnight lows didn’t dip below 90 degrees (32.2 degrees Celsius), making it hard for people to cool off after the sun went down.

The reprieve was expected to be brief, with the forecast calling for highs again above 110 for several days later in the week. And National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Hirsch said August could be even hotter than July.

In California, Death Valley, long considered the hottest place on Earth, flirted in July with some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded, reaching 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit (52.5 Celsius) on July 16 at the aptly named Furnace Creek.

The planet’s hottest recorded temperature ever was 134 F (56.67 C) in July 1913 at Furnace Creek, according to the World Meteorological Organization, the body recognized as keeper of world records.

And in Nevada, also on July 16, Las Vegas briefly reached 116 degrees (46.6 degrees Celsius) to tie the record for that date set in 1998.

The heat in Phoenix began to ease slightly last week with the city’s first major storm since the monsoon season began June 15.

The Southwest heat wave was just one kind of extreme weather events that hit the U.S. in July. Fatal flash floods swept people and cars away in Pennsylvania, and days of flooding led to dangerous mudslides in the Northeast.

At several points during the month, as many as a third of Americans were under some type of heat advisory, watch or warning. While not as visually dramatic as other natural disasters, experts say heat waves are deadlier — heat in parts of the South and Midwest killed more than a dozen people in June.

Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous and home to Phoenix, reported 25 heat-related deaths this year as of July 21. Another 249 deaths are listed as under investigation, and results from toxicological tests that can take weeks or months after an autopsy could lead to many being confirmed as heat-related.

Maricopa County reported 425 heat-associated deaths in all of 2022, with more than half in July.


Costley reported from New Orleans.


Follow Drew Costley on Twitter: @drewcostley.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Phoenix has ended 31-day streak of highs at or above 110 degrees as rains ease a Southwest heat wave