Once more the weather is the news. In what has been a relentless 2 years of weather extremes, Phoenix now finds itself at the centre of a prolonged heatwave that affects every aspect of life there.
The US National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning on Aug. 6 and it is still in place.
"The last time the temperature dipped below 90 degrees in Phoenix was at 6 a.m. on Aug. 6. Two days later came the hottest day of the current heat wave — “I guess we can call it that”
As of Monday, the average August temperature was 100.2 degrees, or 6.2 degrees higher than normal. By Tuesday, the temperature had reached 110 degrees for nine consecutive days; last year, the longest stretch where temperatures reached or surpassed 110 degrees was six days. Tuesday was also the 31st consecutive day the mercury hit 100 degrees.
“People can handle maybe a couple of days of extreme heat, but when you start getting into so many days in a row, their bodies don’t have a chance to recover,” .
Playgrounds are busy at 7 a.m., and in most schools, children do not get to play outside after 10 a.m. Hotels’ bustling business is selling day passes for their pools to locals who do not have a pool of their own.
Streets are deserted, even in the city’s downtown business district. People walk at a pace somewhere between a stroll and a quickstep — not too fast, but fast enough to get them inside as fast as they can.
The heat is so intense it feels as if it is searing the exposed skin. Cracking the front door feels like opening the oven to check the cookies. To enter a car that has been parked in the sun for some time is like stepping inside a wood-burning stove; steering wheels are so hot sometimes they might burn a driver’s fingers. Parents take to draping child seats with sun shades, like the ones they use on windshields."