Winter heat wave tightens grip on Valley

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- If you thought Wednesday was a little too warm for this time of year in the Valley, just wait until Thursday.

Sky Harbor reported a Wednesday afternoon high of 89 degrees. That’s 13 degrees warmer than normal. Some areas, like downtown Phoenix and Peoria, topped out in the low 90s.

On average, the Phoenix area does not see a 90 degree day until March 31. Friday’s forecasted high in Phoenix is expected to reach 93, with a 92 on Friday and a 90 on Saturday.

So why so much heat? A strong ridge of high pressure continues to build from the west. As it does, it’s keeping our jet stream well to our north, preventing any cooler Canadian air from sagging southward in our direction. It’s also keeping any storms out of the region.

As with high pressure, the air in the atmosphere is sinking, compressing and heating up. Thus, we’re expecting record-setting temperatures to wrap up the week.

Thursday’s record high in Phoenix is 91 set back in 2007. Friday’s record high is 92 also set back in 2007.

Overnight lows in the Valley should also be pretty mild for the next seven days, dipping only into the upper 50s and low 60s.

By Sunday, we’ll see a very modest cool down begin to take shape as our high pressure begins to weaken. We’ll also see an increase in cloud cover from time to time. Temperatures in the Valley Sunday and Monday should reach the upper 80s, while we’ll cool to the mid and low 80s Tuesday as well as Wednesday.

If you’re looking for a place to escape the heat, check out our local mountains. Flagstaff should reach the upper 60s and low 70s for the remainder of this week and start of the weekend. No doubt residents there will be happy to pull out the short sleeves after several snow storms dumped inches there this year.