Is Phoenix about to hit 100 degrees for the first time this year? If so, it'll be early

Phoenix just experienced a cooler-than-average March, and now, not even two full weeks later, is flirting with its first 100-degree day.

Temperatures only reached 90 degrees for the first time on April 11, then fell into the 70s and 80s before starting the climb toward 100.

Meteorologist Ted Whittock of the National Weather Service Phoenix said Sunday and Monday are the best chances for the warmest weather we have seen so far this year.

"We have quite a large area of high pressure building over the desert Southwest, and on Sunday and Monday we will have mostly clear skies and high-pressure overhead, giving conditions conducive to warm temperatures," Whittock said.

On average, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport records its first 100-degree reading on May 2, with residents getting the last blast of it on Oct. 5, on average, before experiencing a reprieve from the heat. Last year, the first 100-degree day occurred on April 30.

The earliest that temperatures have reached 100 degrees was March 26, 1988, a record that still stands.

Sunday is forecast for a high near 98 degrees with winds from 5 to 10 mph, before cooling to a low of 68 degrees in the evening. Monday conditions are expected to be about the same.

A moderate heat risk alert has been issued, and the weather service urges residents sensitive to heat to stay hydrated and reduce their time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Air quality is another concern to watch with hotter temperatures, one of the key ingredients for higher ozone levels.

The weather service and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality already issued an air quality alert for Maricopa County on Wednesday, and as temperatures rise, air quality is expected to decline more.

For current air quality status levels, visit Maricopa County’s air quality status map, and for a look-ahead of the levels, visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s air quality forecast.

Moving into next week, temperatures will begin to drop slightly due to a low-pressure system coming in from the West Coast, according to Whittock. Phoenix is still on track to experience above-normal temperatures this summer.

"Currently, it is looking like we are leaning towards above-normal temperatures," Whittock said. "But, there are still some chances of having near to even slightly below normal temperatures, though the most likely outcome looks like June through August is going to be above normal."

Caralin Nunes writes about weather and related topics for The Arizona Republic and Email her with story tips at

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix could reach 100 degrees for the first time this year