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Forecasters say southwest temperatures will ease as monsoon rains arrive: NPR

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A digital billboard displays an unofficial temperature, Monday, July 17, 2023, in downtown Phoenix.

Matt York/AP


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Matt York/AP


A digital billboard displays an unofficial temperature, Monday, July 17, 2023, in downtown Phoenix.

Matt York/AP

PHOENIX – A historic heat wave that turned the United States Southwest into a blast furnace throughout July is beginning to subside with the late onset of monsoon rains.

Forecasters expect that by Monday at the latest, residents of the Phoenix metro area will start seeing high temperatures below 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) for the first time in a month. On Friday, the high temperature in the desert city had been at or above that mark for 29 straight days.

Already this week, the overnight low at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has fallen below 90 (32.2C) for the first time in 16 days, finally giving people some rest from the sweltering heat. once the sun has set.

Temperatures are also expected to drop in Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Death Valley, California.

The downward trend began Wednesday night, when Phoenix experienced its first major monsoon storm since the season traditionally started on June 15. While more than half of the greater Phoenix area received no rain from this storm, some eastern suburbs were hit by high winds. , dust devils and localized falls of up to 2.5 centimeters of precipitation.

Increasingly strong storms are expected over the weekend.

Scientists calculate that July will turn out to be the hottest on record anywhere in the world and possibly the hottest human civilization has ever known. Extreme heat is now hitting the eastern part of the United States, as soaring temperatures have moved from the Midwest to the northeast and mid-Atlantic, where some places are experiencing their hottest days until present this year.

New heat records set this summer are just some of the extreme weather events seen across the United States this month, such as flash flooding in Pennsylvania and parts of the Northeast.

And although help is on its way to the southwest, for now it is still dangerously hot. Phoenix’s high temperature reached 116 (46.7 C) on Friday afternoon, which is well above the average temperature of 106 (41.1 C).

“Anyone can be in danger outside in this record-breaking heat,” the fire department in Goodyear, a suburb of Phoenix, warned on social media while offering ideas for staying safe.

For many people such as the elderly, those with medical conditions, and those without access to air conditioning, the heat can be dangerous or even fatal.

Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county and home to Phoenix, reported this week that its public health department had confirmed 25 heat-related deaths this year as of July 21, with 249 more under investigation. investigation.

Toxicology test results that can take weeks or months after an autopsy is performed could eventually lead to many deaths being listed as under investigation, as the associated heat is changed to confirmation.

Maricopa County confirmed 425 heat-related deaths last year, and more than half of those occurred in July.

Elsewhere in Arizona next week, the Yuma Desert farming community is expecting highs ranging from 104 to 112 (40 C to 44.4 C) and Tucson is eyeing highs ranging from 99 to 111 (37.2 C to 43.9C).

Highs in Las Vegas are expected to drop to 94 (34.4C) next Tuesday after a long stretch of highs above 110 (43.3C). Death Valley, which hit 128 (53.3 C) in mid-July, will also cool, but only to a still-scorching 116 (46.7 C).

In New Mexico, highs in Albuquerque next week are expected to be in the mid to high 90s (around 35C), with festive cloudy skies.

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