Let’s face it: It’s hard to get too excited about a high of 92 degrees in Flagstaff.
After all, it’s why all those Phoenicians are here for the weekend, displaced by 115 degrees and hotter.
But while the upcoming highs in the low 90s might not rate an excessive heat warning, we’ll remind the Weather Service that heat is relative.
--It was officially 35 degrees in Flagstaff just this Tuesday morning and it has been known to snow here into the first week of June. Jumping nearly 60 degrees in less than a week is a sure way to disrupt the internal thermostat.
--When the thermometer in Flagstaff has never, ever topped 100 degrees (the record is 97), a high that is within five degrees of the record can feel mighty uncomfortable.
--Adding to the discomfort is the absence of air conditioning in most Flagstaff homes and apartments. The closest we come AC each day is in our cars.
So even though the Flagstaff forecast page online doesn’t have a pulsing red Heat Warning icon, 92 degrees is still a seriously hot day, especially for infants, the elderly, pets and anyone spending an extended period of time outdoors at midday. And if you are planning a hike in Sedona or Antelope Canyon near Page, don’t – the highs this weekend will hit 106 degrees and above. Hiking down into the Grand Canyon? The forecast at Phantom Ranch is for 116 degrees by Tuesday – and it’s a long hike back up to the rim.
We don’t mean to be alarmist – most of us in Flagstaff can handle an occasional day or two in the mid-90s just fine. But this heat wave is for at least five consecutive days over 90 – in Prescott, five over 100. The Weather Service calls that highly unusual for June, and the excessive heat will dry out the forests even faster and raise the fire danger.
We will note for the record that the monsoon officially started Thursday – on paper. And the last two Junes were unusually cool and wet, so those with short memories might be expecting some cooling showers any day now.
Don’t get your hopes up. By Thursday, the high will still be 94 degrees and there is little if any moisture in the 10-day forecast. Here are some tips to get everyone safely through our June heat wave:
--Have extra water available at all times.
--Avoid strenuous outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
--Stay hydrated at outdoor job sites and take frequent breaks in the shade
--Help kids, the elderly and pets stay cool, especially those without AC
--Never leave children or pets unattended in vehicles
And what about July? Early high heat is almost always followed by an early monsoon as more Pacific moisture is sucked earlier into the Southwest. But that record Flagstaff high of 97 mentioned above occurred on July 5, so it’s possible we could be in for a prolonged heat spell. For now, though, let’s take it five days at a time – and be thankful we live in Arizona at 7,000 feet.