The Gates of Hell Open

They are fully opening this week.  A former local weatherman used this phrase to announce the coming of the heat.  Full-time residents of Phoenix know how to live in 100 degree weather.  After a few years of acclimation 100 degrees is considered absolute balmy.  Depending on if I am driving in the city or on the highway I may not turn on the AC in my SUV.

When is too hot?

At certain temperatures even the most hardened Phoenician raises the white flag when the weather gods think we have had it too easy.  When is it too hot in Phoenix? The general consensus is 110 degrees.  The difference between 100 and 110 degrees to the outsider may seem trivial.  I can tell the difference in how I feel.  I first noticed the difference when I moved here in the 1990’s.   I had a job working second shift at an electronics company.  Once a week I would go out to eat dinner with the other people in my section.  One night about 8 pm the outside temp was 105 degrees.  The night air while not cool at least it was not overbearing.  The next time I went out to eat the outside temp at 8 pm was 108 degrees.  The way my body felt completely changed.  Even at night the air was oppressive.  It seemed to be a little harder to breath.  There was nothing refreshing about the air that night.

Hellish Temps begin at 115 degrees 

Officially the hottest temperature recorded at Sky Harbor airport was 122 degrees.  That is not the highest unofficial temperature recorded in Arizona.  The highest unofficial temperature was recorded in Lake Havasu City was 128 degrees on June 29, 1994.  About six years ago I wanted to find out how hot it was in my backyard.  My weather station read 114 degrees in the shade.  I took my meat thermometer out in the back yard in the direct sun. The thermometer read 124 degrees.  That is beyond hot.  The gates of hell open.

Written by James Simons