Pumpkins and swimming pools? Heat wave hits Arizona
PHOENIX (AP) — In Arizona, jack-o’-lanterns may not be the only things melting this Halloween.
The state is in the midst of a heat wave that culminated Thursday with a new record high of 100 degrees for Phoenix, making this October one of the hottest in years.
Lengthy runs of 90-plus degree days have plagued Phoenix and Tucson for the past few weeks. But the triple-digit reading marks a sweltering plateau for Phoenix.
According to the National Weather Service, it’s a new record for Oct. 27, beating the previous record of 98 degrees set in 2001. Furthermore, it also marks the latest date after summer that Phoenix has hit at least 100. The area’s previous post-summer record for a triple digit temperature was Oct. 23 in 2003.
“Fingers crossed Halloween is in the 80s,” said Andrew Deemer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Several people took to social media to express their disbelief. A Phoenix TV station started a Facebook livestream of Halloween candy melting outside with the hashtag “#TrickOrHeat.” The video has already garnered more than 1,500 views.
A high-pressure ridge is the culprit. Centered just west of the southern Baja peninsula of Mexico, it stretches north through Arizona and into Utah. The ridge is expected to heat things up through the weekend before moving east early next week.
While other parts of the country are enjoying cool breezes and changing fall leaves, people in Phoenix are still wearing shorts and flip-flops and splashing in swimming pools.
With Thursday’s high, Phoenix has now endured 23 consecutive days of scorching, 90-plus degree temperatures. The previous October record was 25 days set back in 1952, Deemer said.
In Tucson, the temperature also set a new record Thursday. The National Weather Service reported the high for the day was 97 degrees, surpassing the record of 94 on Oct. 27, 1937.
It happened after residents got a slight breather with 88 degrees a day earlier. Before that, Tucson had an 18-day streak of 90-plus degrees. The previous stretch of high October heat ran for 20 days in 1991.
“It has been a while since we’ve seen a stretch like this,” Tucson meteorologist Greg Mollere said. “But it happens.”
The city has been running 8 to 12 degrees above normal for the past week. The heat wave is predicted to peak Thursday at 97 degrees, which would surpass the record high for that date of 94 in 1937.
Arizonans are taking the heat into account when it comes to Halloween activities such as finding the perfect pumpkin. At Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale, the pumpkin patch is shaded, but there was no escaping the sun for those checking out the petting zoo, gardens and mini train. Several parents didn’t seem to mind the temperature while trying to get a festive photo Wednesday afternoon.
Owner Bill Tolmachoff, who has been running the pumpkin patch for 20 years, said crowds definitely pick up in the evening. He thinks people may have procrastinated because of the heat.
“People are now thinking ‘We’ve got to do this. It’s not going to cool off,” Tolmachoff said.
Taylor Badger, 17, of Glendale, who was snapping photos of the hay-and-pumpkin scenery, said it felt strange to be doing Halloween activities in summer clothes.
“I remember being a little kid and carving pumpkins wearing long sleeves and pants,” said Badger, who was wearing a denim skirt. “It’s just not like that anymore.”