As Tucson swelters through a week of sweat-sucking triple-digit heat, we might take cool comfort in one bit of news:
The city is no longer on track to shatter the record for the number of days that reach or top 100 degrees in a single year.
"Statistically, based on historical data, the chances that Tucson will break the triple-digit-high record of 99 days are zero," said J.J. Brost, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Last month, after a blistering siege of triple-digit days in June and early July, the weather service said Tucson had a chance of topping 100 degrees on 100 or more days this year. That would have toppled the record of 99 such days set in 1994.
Then - to the dismay of record lovers and the relief of the rest of us - temperatures went south. The second half of July produced only two 100-degree days. That took the steam out of a push toward a new record.
As of Wednesday, the city had hit or topped 100 degrees on 54 days this year. Wednesday's high reached a record for the date at 108 degrees. The previous record high was 107 in 1995.
Racking up 46 additional triple-digit days by the end of the year to hit the 100 mark is statistically out of the question, Brost said.
That's based on the fact that the average number of triple-digit days from this point in August to the end of the year is only 16. The record for such days in the time period is 33 - well below the 46 that would be needed to break the record this year.
Still, Brost noted, we won't be noticing any immediate relief from the swelter. Temperatures are expected to top out at more than 100 degrees every day for much of the coming week.
"The high-pressure system that in July was generally east of us in Oklahoma and Texas is now shifting to the west," Brost said. "It will park basically over Arizona and give us lots of heat."
Tucson's highs today, Friday and Saturday are expected to be about 105 degrees, with a possibility of thunderstorms. If it's any consolation, forecasts call for highs of 111 to 112 in Phoenix during the same period, prompting the weather service to issue an excessive-heat warning for the Phoenix area and Southwest Arizona.
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Did you know?
The record high temperature for Tucson is 117 degrees. That scorcher of a day occurred on June 26, 1990. At the other end of the thermometer, the record low - on Jan. 7, 1913 - was a very chilly 6 degrees.
Source: National Weather Service
Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4192.