20 years since Tucson's strongest heat wave - Tucson News Now

20 years since Tucson's strongest heat wave

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The below information is from the Tucson National Weather Service

20 years ago this week, the Tucson area was in the midst of a record breaking heat wave that brought the longest stretch of 110 degree plus highs in recorded history, a streak that still stands today.

A strong ridge of high pressure parked itself over the southwest United States and brought very hot temperatures to the region. The chart at the right shows the composite mean of the 500 mb upper air chart for the period June 24 to June 30, 1994. Chart courtesy of ESRL.

High temperatures across the state during this heat wave ranged from the upper 80s to mid 90s in the mountains to between 110 degrees and 128 degrees at the lower desert locations. A listing of high temperatures across the state from June 24-30, 1994 are listed below.

Starting on the 24th and continuing until the 29th, the Tucson International airport recorded high temperatures between 111° and 116° with four record high temperatures being set during this heat wave. (See table below).

     
Date High Previous record
June 24 113° 112° in 1902
June 25 115° 113° in 1990
June 26 113° 117° in 1990
June 27 111° 112° in 1990
June 28 115° 113° in 1990
June 29 116° 110° in 1923
New record dates are bolded
 
The six straight days of 110°+ highs set a new consecutive day record, breaking the previous record of 5 straight days which occurred in 1990 (June 24-28). All of the historical multiple day occurrences of 110°+ highs in Tucson can be found on our website at this URL: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/twc/climate/Tucson110s/Tucson110s_consecutive.php
 
The 116° on June 29 1994 was one degree off the all-time record high of 117° for Tucson which occurred on June 26 1990. The two tables below show what the top 10 hottest temperatures in Tucson were prior to (left) and after (right) the 1994 heat wave.
 
All-time record HIGH temperatures for
Tucson Arizona prior to 1994 heat wave
Top 10 occurrences
Rank
Temperature
Date/Year
1)
117°
June 26, 1990
2T)
114°
July 4, 1989
114°
June 22, 1988
4T)
113°
June 26, 1993
113°
June 28, 1990
113°
June 25, 1990
113°
June 18, 1989
113°
June 23, 1988
9T) 112°
August 1, 1993*
* - last of 9 occurrences

 

All-time record HIGH temperatures for
Tucson Arizona after 1994 heat wave
Top 10 occurrences
Rank
Temperature
Date/Year
1)
117°
June 26, 1990
2)
116°
June 29, 1994
3T)
115°
June 28, 1994
115°
June 25, 1994
5T)
114°
July 4, 1989
114°
June 22, 1988
8T)
113°
June 26, 1994
113°
June 24, 1994
113°
June 26, 1993
113°
June 28, 1990
113°
June 25, 1990
113°
June 18, 1989
113°
June 23, 1988
 
As stated earlier the 1994 heat wave impacted the entire state. Below is a listing of daily high temperatures for selected locations across Arizona for the time period of June 24-30, 1994. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Arizona occurred during the 1994 heat wave when Lake Havasu City hit 128° on June 29.
               
Location June 24 1994 June 25 1994 June 26 1994 June 27 1994 June 28 1994 June 29 1994 June 30 1994
Bullhead City 118° 121° 121° 123° 123° 126° 123°
Lake Havasu City 122° 122° 120° 126° 123° 128° 124°
Flagstaff 87° 91° 91° 91° 87° 91° 91°
Grand Canyon 92° 94° 94° 93° 91° 93° 95°
Holbrook 99° 103° 104° 105° 102° 104° 104°
Prescott 96° 100° 99° 101° 99° 98° 103°
Globe 103° 108° 108° 109° 105° 106° 110°
San Carlos Reservoir 106° 112° 116° 112° 114° 114° 116°
Bouse 115° 116° 116° 118° 119° 120° 116°
Quartzite 116° 118° 118° 120° 121° 121° 112°
Yuma 117° 119° 111° 113° 116° 114° 113°
Casa Grande 114° 114° 113° 112° 115° 118° 117°
Florence 109° 113° 115° 114° 108° 112° 116°
Gila Bend 119° 119° 118° 118° 116° 119° 118°
Oracle 103° 104° 102° 102° 105° 106° 103°
Phoenix 116° 116° 116° 109° 116° 117° 108°
Ajo 108° 112° 113° 113° 109° 112° 110°
Benson 102° 107° 109° 107° 107° 109° 109°
Bowie 107° 110° 111° 111° 107° 107° 109°
Clifton 111° 113° 116° 114° 113° 111° 113°
Douglas 105° 108° 110° 106° 107° 106° 105°
Duncan 107° 111° 111° 110° 110° 109° 110°
Kitt Peak 92° 94° 91° 92° 91° 96° 93°
Nogales 101° 106° 107° 105° 105° 108° 106°
Organ Pipe Cactus 116° 112° 112° 109° 113° 112° 106°
Safford Ag. Center 105° 110° 111° 112° 113° 110° 114°
San Simon 110° 113° 114° 112° 112° 111° 112°
Sierra Vista 101° 104° 103° 103° 104° 104° 97°
Tombstone 104° 106° 106° 107° 107° 106° 103°
Willcox 105° 108° 108° 109° 110° 108° 107°
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