Why was this week so hot?

A heat wave for the ages.

Saturday’s daytime temp peaked at 113°. This matched the old record high set on this date in 1994. Of note, this is the 6th straight day Tucson has topped 109° or above. In addition, the Old Pueblo has recorded 5 days this week at or above 110°.

Monday through Wednesday marked three consecutive days with an observed high of at least 115°. This is the longest 115° streak ever recorded in Tucson.

The airport also recorded three of the hottest days on record in this three day span. Highs Monday and Wednesday peaked at 115°, which is the third hottest day on record. Tuesday’s high temp of 116° was the second hottest day ever recorded in the Old Pueblo. The average temperature Tuesday was 101.5°, marking the first time Tucson’s ever had an average daily temp in the 100s.

So what drove this historic heat wave?

High pressure over the desert southwest is common this time of year. However, this week’s high pressure dome was roughly two standard deviations higher for mid to late June. This abnormally strong high pressure center should begin to weaken early in the upcoming work week.

There is an upshot to the swelter. A long streak of triple digit heat means the Monsoon high is developing. High pressure in early July usually drifts toward the Four Corners, opening up the pipeline to Monsoon moisture.

More good news? It appears tomorrow will be the final day of temps threatening 110° in Tucson. Excessive Heat Warnings for the Old Pueblo expire at 7 PM Sunday.

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