Global Warming--The 50 Hottest Cities in America

Several articles have appeared this week which discuss increasing temperatures in US cities and increasing deaths related to heat.

As a starting point, last year (2019) a list of the 50 hottest cities in America was published. The key factor was number of days of 90 degree F or hotter weather.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/06/22/50-hottest-cities-in-america/39599939/

Several of the cities on the list are home to major universities (Phoenix (ASU), Tucson (UArizona), Las Vegas (UNLV) & Austin, Texas (Univ. of Texas), Waco, Texas (Baylor)). Is this a concern when selecting a school ?

The Arizona Republic published an article yesterday (August 26,2020) about “Deadly Heat Is On The Rise Across The US” sharing that US cities most affected by global warming include Phoenix, Arizona, Burlington, Vermont, Chattanooga, Tennessee, & Helena, Montana, & Tucson, Arizona among the top 10 most impacted by global warming over the last decade.

Wow, Austin is #7 on the list. Good thing I moved from there, since I don’t like heat!

But I don’t think it’s that big a concern. Students aren’t there during the hottest part of the year, summer. And boy, was it great to be out by the pool in late February! I do miss that part. :slight_smile:

The top 50 hottest cities in the US include these university towns:

  1. Phoenix–169 days per year of 90 degree plus heat (highest temp = 122 F)

  2. Tucson–147 days (117 F)

  3. Las Vegas–135 days (117 F)

  4. Austin, Texas–114 days (112 F)

  5. Waco, Texas–111 days of 90 degree plus heat

  6. El Paso, Texas–107 days

  7. Houston–104 days

  8. Dallas–103 days

  9. Orlando, Florida–98 days

  10. Tallahassee, Florida (FSU)–91 days

  11. Baton Rouge, Louisiana (LSU)–89 days

  12. Tampa, Fla.–87 days

  13. Gainesville, Fla.–85 days

  14. Jackson, Mississippi–84 days

  15. Jacksonville, Fla. (nice beaches nearby)–82 days

  16. Columbia, South Carolina–79 days

  17. Mobile, Ala.–76 days

  18. Little Rock, Arkansas–75 days

  19. New Orleans–75 days

  20. Tulsa, Okla.–73 days

  21. Memphis, Tenn.–68 days

  22. Miami, Florida–68 days (Not to be confused with Miami, Ohio)

One recently published article stated that heat is a serious health concern in Phoenix from May through October with even March & April experiencing noteworthy days of high temps.

I don’t think students worry about heat as much as they do cold- but maybe that depends upon which part of the country you are in!

Seems like if you lived in Phoenix or Tucson, you would want to cover your house and back yard in solar panels to provide both shade and electricity to run the air conditioner.

My S had a job offer in Phoenix last February. He ended up turning it down & wondered if he did the right thing. Watching the weather reports this summer has helped him to feel very comfortable with his decision!

This summer in Phoenix we’ve had 50 days with a high above 110. Previous record was 33. It’s been 14 or 15 days above 115—previous record was 7, and close to 30 days with a low at 90 or above. And almost nonexistent monsoon storms. This the same summer where all our escapes—travel, restaurants, movie theatres, ice rinks, etc—are closed due to Covid.

It’s been a pretty horrible summer here, but the school year happens when the weather is generally beautiful. As my kids have discovered, it’s a great place to come home to for Christmas break. It’s a great place to come for college, as long as you do your summer internship somewhere else.

That’s how my daughter feels about going to school in Houston. It’s crazy hot and humid now, but fall and winter are really nice. The kids miss the worst of the year when they go home in the summer. We live in Wisconsin and when she came home last winter break she said she didn’t know if she could live in the north again. We get pretty jealous in the winter when it’s dark and cold in the late afternoon and she’s sitting outside in the sun with no coat.

We live in northwest CT. We have had 40 days this summer with temps above 90…a new record.

Many of our schools do not have AC. Many college dorms do not have AC. And sometimes the windows don’t open either.

We are hoping for cooler temps as school starts.

I think some students do take this into account. S was interested in looking at Rice , but did not b/c of the location.

We are not hot weather people. H and I are retiring to Minneapolis in a few years.

@Parentof2014grad: Curious about the late evening / night time temperatures in the Phoenix area during July & August. At what time do you feel sufficient relief from the heat to go outside ?

Friends who both grew up in Tucson shared that in their experience that Tucson daytime temps are a bit lower than Phoenix, but that the major difference is that Tucson cools down considerably at night while Phoenix remains quite hot. Is this an accurate observation in your experience ?

Thank you !

Somewhat surprised that Miami, Florida was just 50th on the list of the 50 Hottest Cities in the US.

The list would have been viewed with a bit of suspicion if Miami was 51st & therefore not on the top 50 list.

Miami is right on the Atlantic. I suspect that would give it a cooling effect. The Gulf gets warmer than the Atlantic does and inland cities are often warmer in the summer than either coast.

@publisher for July and August it s hot even at night in the Phoenix area. We’ve had record days with nighttime lows above 90 this year, but even in a normal year it doesn’t get cool at night in the height of summer, except when there’s monsoon storms. When those happen we go outside and stand in the rain.
People do adjust though. The golf courses do big business in the early mornings, and we go for walks in the evenings after dark, or even at sunset. We carry water everywhere. There are a lot of swimming pools (but the water is warm in heat of summer, not cold). Our summer is like winter in cold places and the rest of the year is great.
My daughter just moved to Tucson, it’s definitely a little cooler there, maybe five degrees for daytime highs, and they seem to have gotten more monsoon storms, but she hasn’t been there long enough make a good comparison. I spent a weekend down there but it was a really hot weekend. It didn’t cool off at night there either.

I agree that summer in hot climates is like winter in cold climates. But if you’re heat-averse as I am, those three to five months are agony. As is cold weather for my sister, whose nose starts running when it’s below 40.

You can compare these historical averages:

https://weatherspark.com/y/2857/Average-Weather-in-Tucson-Arizona-United-States-Year-Round
https://weatherspark.com/y/2460/Average-Weather-in-Phoenix-Arizona-United-States-Year-Round

We have been in AZ 21 years now. We moved from Scottsdale to the SE valley, about 45 minutes SE of Phoenix, about five years ago. The Phoenix metro area is in the low Sonoran desert which is a bowl that holds heat for about three months. The high summer temps here run late July through September/early October. The high heat breaks in October, sometimes overnight, but we’ve had warm Halloweens.

What people need to understand about temperatures here is that we generally have a 30-degree daily spread, and temps in the 90’s are quite comfortable and feel nothing like those same temps in the east, Midwest, or anyplace with humidity. Temps in the 70’s can feel downright cold. It’s hard for people to fathom being outdoors comfortably in the 90’s-low 100’s, but you have to experience it to understand it. So, don’t feel sorry for us until you see the temperature go above 105, which seems to be the tipping point between quite warm and very hot. And, no, I have not acclimated; I hate heat.

Where this scenario changes is when we hit monsoon season (where we are now), when the dew point goes above 60, and the storms bring humidity. Then, we lose the 30-degree spread, humidity rises, and all bets are off. For me, the valley is miserable about 10-12 weeks out of the year. The rest of the year is paradise.

Right now, the daily lows have been in the low-to-mid 80’s, with the lowest temps (obviously) just prior to full sunrise. We walk between 5-6AM. There is no time during the day or early evening when I find it bearable to be outside during monsoon season.

Looking at the weather forecast (high/low) right now for the upcoming week:

Today 102/80
Sunday 89/76 (due to thunderstorms)
Monday 93/75
Tuesday 96/75
Wednesday 98/78
Thursday. 102/78
Friday 105/80
Saturday 107/82

These are unseasonably low temps, but the thunderstorms will bring sauna-like humidity. Think of the effect of dropping water on a frying pan; that’s AZ monsoon season, so those lower temps look good but will feel miserable. Those same temps with no humidity earlier in the summer would have us all back on our patios partying. Well, not during these times, but you get the drift.

So, the old cliche, “It’s not the temp, it’s the humidity” holds as true in AZ as it does anywhere else. We’re just blessed not to have that humidity for very long.

One word about monsoon storms: We don’t get as many as we used to, but they are a spectacle to behold. I’d never seen lightening skip sideways across mountaintops or bone-dry land become a rushing river in a matter of minutes before moving here. Our first few summers, we’d either turns off all our lights to watch the light show outside, or we’d drive to an area where we could see the lightening skipping across the ring of mountains around us. We thought we were in the midst of a National Geographic photo shoot. I still find them breathtaking.

ETA: Arizonans value monsoon season as a way of keeping people from moving here. :wink:

Air conditioning could be making Phoenix hotter, which encourages people to use more air conditioning:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-much-hotter-phoenix-az-nights-are-because-c-180951393/
https://howardair.com/air-conditioning-actually-makes-phoenix-hotter/

Phoenix also has the “urban heat island” effect:
https://sustainability.asu.edu/news/archive/urban-heat-island-affects-phoenix-all-year-round/
https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2020/06/27/phoenix-tries-cool-pavement-pilot-program-curb-heat-island-effect/3247039001/

“Global warming…”

You are currently living in an ice age. We have yet to warm up.

Just 80k years ago Kansas was below a mile of ice, and we still have glaciers and frozen ice caps which is actually abnormal for the earth.

Presently the earth is 20 degrees F below avg temperature.

Enjoy the cool weather.

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2020/south-west-fastest-growing.html

Among cities with a population of 50,000 or more, Phoenix, Arizona (pop. of 1,680,992) was the fastest growing large city from 2010 to 2019 according to the US government census.

Austin, Texas (population almost 1 million = 978,908) was the fifth fastest growing large US city from 2010 to 2019. The Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas metropolitan statistical area was the fastest growing US metro area.