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Phoenix: 2017 was the warmest year on record


Tara Alatorre

PHOENIX – The year 2017 was the all-time warmest year on record in the Phoenix Valley with an average temperature of 77.3 degrees Fahrenheit, beating the previous record set in 2014, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

In fact, 2017 tied as the second hottest year for the state, with the first 21 days this December being the fifth warmest on record with an average temperature of 60.5 degrees.  Phoenix also saw the fourth hottest temperature ever recorded on June 20, 2017, with a high of 119 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the NWS in Phoenix.

“We've been seeing a general warming trend of the atmosphere over the last 30-40 years or so; and then couple that with the incredible amount of urbanization over the Valley it would be a fair assumption to make,” he said.

The temperature-setting record Phoenix broke refers specifically to the Sky Harbor area because that is where the official readings are taken by NWS. Although NWS does forecast the entire Phoenix Metro area, which differentiate at specific locations there are some differences in the data depending on specific locations around Maricopa County, Deemer said in his email to The Foothills Focus.

“I think generally, people extrapolate those numbers for much of the Valley, although all of us know there is great difference depending on your specific location,” Deemer said. “For example, we might forecast 100° for Sky Harbor (and say Phoenix) but our forecast for Cave Creek would likely be a few degrees cooler.”

Along with the record setting high temperatures, another predominant weather trend Phoenix saw in 2017 was the prolonged periods without rainfall. It was one of the driest seasons in the Phoenix Valley, exceeding over 100 days without rainfall, which is one of the longest rain-free streaks in the city, according to NWS.

Deemer went on to say that the important take away from the record-breaking heat is that the hot climate can be very dangerous, noting that the heat kills hundreds of people in Arizona every year including young, old, sick and healthy people.

“We are seeing the warming as a larger trend,” he said. “Maybe the key takeaway is that the heat is arriving sooner and staying longer. We can expect to break additional records.”