Hot Weekend / Red Flag Warnings / June Gloom

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PHOENIX - The heat is on for the Valley this weekend.  Look for afternoon highs near 109 today, 110 Saturday and 111 Sunday.

Monday could be even warmer, with forecast highs near 113. 

The Valley is also under another ozone health watch today, and that could be extended into tomorrow as well.  Breezy conditions are possible this afternoon, with even windier conditions in the high country. 

In fact, a Red Flag warning is in effect for much of northern and northwestern Arizona today from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.  Southwesterly winds could gust up to about 30 miles an hour, while relative humidifies stay extremely low. 

What a shock this heat is to my system after a week in San Diego.  I just returned from a family vacation where every afternoon I watched the mercury climb to the upper 60s. The sun made a couple appearances, but overall, the sky was gray thanks to that June Gloom.

The familiar early summer cloud cover is caused by a marine layer of stratus clouds. The clouds sometimes give way to hazy afternoon sunshine, although the gray sometimes lingers all day. 

The number of days each May and June that are gray changes from year to year, and can be tied to sea surface temperatures. Years with cooler ocean water often produce more cloudy days in May and June. 

I'm one of the many Arizonans who temporarily escapes to San Diego when our summer heat hits, and anyone who knows Southern California knows that if you're seeking sunshine, you don't head there in May or June.  But hotel and sometimes golf rates are cheaper because it's not peak season for tourists. 

I can tell you it doesn't keep many Arizonans away. I saw plenty of folks walking the boardwalk in ASU and Diamondbacks sweatshirts.  Sweatshirts, not t-shirts, because although a sizzling summer is in full swing in Arizona, it's still chilly at the beach!