First 100-degree day of the year (back) in the forecastPosted: Updated:
Well, we dodged a bullet when the Power of 2 Weather Team put the first 100-degree day in their forecasts a couple of weeks ago. It's unlikely we will be so lucky again.
We're looking at 102 on Thursday and 104 on Friday. Of course, with a forecast high of 99 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday might become also-rans when it comes to the first 100-degree day of 2017.
While it looked like it was going to happened on Sunday, April 23, the mercury didn't make it up that high and then Mother Nature, in her infinite kindness, handed us a bit of a reprieve. Accompanied by some rather gusty winds.
Now, however, the first 100-degree day is about as sure a thing as any "sure thing" can be, especially when dealing with forces of nature.
Of course, Phoenix wouldn't be Phoenix without a little weather weirdness. Think roller coaster. On the heels of the hottest days of the year (so far), we're looking at a pretty big cooldown -- a drop of more than 20 degrees by Monday!
"Nobody’s excited that the triple-digits are here, but this heat wave should be pretty short-lived," meteorologist April Warnecke said Wednesday. "Two, maybe three days and then we get a break again. By early next week, we’ll be back below average in the upper 70s or low 80s. That’s a nearly 25-degree drop over a few days! That’s Arizona in the spring for you."
Translation: Don't pack away your light jackets and cardigans just yet.
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It’s something we hate to talk about. We put it off as long as we possibly can. But it’s April. In Phoenix. That means simply cannot avoid it anymore. It’s time. We have to talk about one of the most dreaded days of the year – the first day the mercury climbs to that 100-degree mark. When daytime highs shift from comfortable and warm-but-tolerable double digits to triple digits. It’s so hot we have to add a number to the reading.
It’s out there – and not far off.
Morning meteorologists Ian Schwartz and April Warnecke agree. It’s looking like Sunday will be the day. On Tuesday, the forecast called for a high 100 degrees even; by Wednesday that was up to 101 -- over 100!
Really, Mother Nature? Really?
If the forecasts are right, she is starting her annual Arizona barbecue (that’s barbecue of Arizona) a bit early this year.
Looking at numbers back to 1895, the average first 100-degree day of the year is May 23, so we’re running about a month ahead of schedule.
Of course, it’s been happening earlier and earlier. Looking at just the past 30 years, the National Weather Service says the average first 100-degree day is May 2. Even shaving 21 days of the all-time average, we’re still (probably) going to hit it early.
“It’s only about one week earlier than normal, so we kind of expect it this time of year," Warnecke said. "Still, it’s always tough to give up this perfect spring weather and get used to the idea that the summer heat is just around the corner. I think no matter how long you live here, it’s never easy.”
Schwartz is on the same page.
"I’ve been getting a lot of dirty looks in the newsroom," he said jokingly. “Although it is a bit early to hit 100 degrees, by no means are we setting a record for the earliest date.”
That earliest date Schwartz mentioned was March 26 -- March! -- in 1988, so recent history.
The latest date was June 18. We should be so lucky! That, by the way, was in 1913, so not-so-recent history.
Schwartz says it's going to be toasty for the foreseeable future.
"Don’t look for any significant rain to cool us off anytime soon. We’re heading into our driest months in the valley, May and June."
Welcome to late spring in Phoenix. Get your weather memes ready.
If you’ve lived in Phoenix for even one summer, you know it can seem long. We’ll probably find ourselves sweating through an average of 110 days with highs of 100 degrees of more. That’s more than 3.5 months!
And it gets hotter. Of course, it gets hotter. This is Phoenix, one of the last stops before Venus, the hottest planet in our solar system. (You’d think Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, would hold that title, but surprise! Click or tap here to find out why. Hint: It’s all about atmosphere.)
Anyway, once we hit that first 100-degree day, it’s only a matter of time before the mercury continues its inexorable journey to 110.
Usually that happens in mid-June, but it has hit early as May 8 (1989) and as late as Aug. 9 (1915).
Looking at the data going back to the beginning of recordkeeping, we’ve averaged 11 days with high of 110 or hotter. Between 1981 and 2010, the average number of 110-degree days in Phoenix jumped 19. I’m melting just thinking about it (she said while working at a desk with a fan inside an air-conditioned building).
Once the triple digits start, it’s like we’re counting down until they end. Actually, it’s not like we’re counting down. We are definitely counting down. Until late September, usually, although it has happened as late as Oct. 23.
We’re not exaggerating the heat with which we deal every summer. When ClimateCentral.org released its ranking of hottest cities in the country last July, Phoenix tied with Fort Myers, FL for No. 3, behind Miami (No. 1) and McAllen, TX (No. 2). Tucson ranked No. 17.
[READ MORE: Phoenix ties for 3rd hottest city in U.S.]
That study also looked at the fastest-warming places across the nation. Three Arizona communities are included in the list.
Phoenix ranked second and is getting hotter by an average of 1.12 degrees per decade. Prescott ranked fifth fastest warming at 0.89 degrees per decade and Tucson ranked seventh fastest at 0.8 degrees per decade.
Phoenix gets super hot in the summer. We all get it. It comes as no surprise to anyone. But that heat -- particularly extreme heat -- is more than merely uncomfortable. It can be deadly.
“Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses,” according to the National Weather Service.
Extreme heat kills more people nationwide than hurricanes, floods and tornadoes -- combined.
But there are things you can do to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Yes, that includes pets.
[RELATED: Bracing for extreme heat]
Hydration is key to surviving the summer here without succumbing to heat-related illness, which is sneaky and can turn into a life-threatening situation faster than you might think possible.
The initial symptoms of heat-related illness are mild. Dehydration is the first. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
One of the most common mistakes people make when it's overly hot is drinking too much soda or coffee. Caffeine actually speeds up the dehydration process. Sports drinks can be helpful, but they are not always the best solution because many of them contain quite a bit of sugar.
Doctors say water consumed throughout the day is your best bet.
If you're going to be out and about in the heat -- whether for work or play -- there are several things you need to do.
Make sure you…
- Hydrate before you head out
- Have at least 16-32 ounces of water for every hour you're going to be out
- Have your cell phone and be sure it's charged in case you need help
- Take breaks to cool off, indoors if you can
- Wear light colors and loose clothing
- Wear a hat or use an umbrella
- Wear sunscreen to protect your skin; you'll need to reapply it if you go swimming or sweat it off
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What to do when heat-related illness sets in
- Move the person to a cooler location
- Remove or loosen tight clothing
- Apply cool, wet towels
- Fan the person
- Give him or her small sips of cool water; do not let him or her drink too much too fast
If you suspect heatstroke
- Call 911 immediately
- Do everything listed above
- For rapid cooling, apply ice or cold packs wrapped in cloth to wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits
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