Heat warnings by the numbers

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Temperatures, actual temperatures, are the best way to compare year to year heat. And we know, for instance by temperatures, July 2020 was the hottest month on record for Phoenix. Not just the hottest July, the hottest month. Is August headed for the hottest August on record? Maybe. The numbers will tell us.

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But there’s another way to look at the heat in terms of the number of warnings issued by the Weather Service for metro Phoenix. It’s interesting information, but must be read with a grain of salt or two. First, these are forecasts, what the meteorologists thought was going to happen. Secondly, the thresholds and reasons for issuing them have evolved. For instance, early on, when heat warnings were started for Phoenix in 2005, morning temperatures weren’t factored in at all. In fact, when heat warnings started in Phoenix in 2005 there was great pushback from the community and local meteorologists.

The common refrain was: It’s Phoenix. It’s summer. We know it’s going to be hot.

But the Weather Service did a good job educating people and we now know that the number of heat related deaths in Phoenix is rising. We had nearly 200 such deaths last year and in 2020, we are ahead of that dubious pace.

In a nutshell, we looked all this up because everyone is wondering if we’ve had more heat warnings this year compared to other years. The answer is no. In 2010, the Weather Service posted 36 heat warnings for metro Phoenix.

So far this year we’re at 29 warnings. And if you add in the next six days, which are also expected include excessive heat warnings, we’re at 35 for 2020. Yeah, we’ll probably break that record, too.

By the way, last year we had 25 heat warnings for the Valley. And here’s the entire list since 2005. The list is provided by the National Weather Service in Phoenix. The first number in parenthesis after the year is that year’s total. Then the dates are listed.

Historical "excessive heat warnings" for the Phoenix area:

2005 (11): May 20-23, June 22, July 13, July 17-18, August 28-30

2006 (8): June 3-5, July 14-15, July 21-23

2007 (7): June 21, July 4-5, August 12-14, August 29

2008 (13): May 18-20, June 14-22, July 1-4, July 18, July 31-August 2

2009 (21): July 11-14, July 17-20, July 26-29, August 1-5, August 27-30

2010 (36): June 6-7, June 30-July 2, July 8-10, July 13-17, July 19-31, August 4-6, August 13-15, August 23-25, September 3

2011 (24): June 22, June 27-29, July 1-3, August 2-3, August 18, August 22-September 4

2012 (21): May 21-22, May 31-June 1, June 18, June 27-30, July 9-10, August 6-14

2013 (14): June 7, June 12, June 28-July 3, August 1, August 16-19, August 20

2014 (6): June 2-4, July 23-24, July 30

2015 (12): June 16-22, August 4-5, August 14-16

2016 (11): June 3-6, June 19-23, July 22-23

2017 (19): June 4-7, June 17-26, July 5-7, August 29-30

2018 (16): May 6, June 3-4, June 12-13, June 21-22, July 5-6, July 23-25, August 6-7, September 14-15

2019 (25): June 11-13, July 11-16, July 27-28, August 3-5, August 13-16, August 20-21, August 27-28, August 30-31, September 4, September 7

2020 (through August 6th) (27): April 26-30, May 6-7, May 27-31, June 2-4, July 10-13, July 19, July 29-August 4

3TV Chief Meteorologist Royal Norman always has his eye on the radar and how weather conditions might affect the people of Arizona.  He also loves telling those quintessential stories that are uniquely Arizona. With 35 years of experience forecasting weather and his vast knowledge of Arizona and its micro climates, Royal is an Arizona Weather Authority. 
 
 

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