PHOENIX – People here expect it to be hot, but they sure wouldn't mind a cool spell. You know, maybe 107 or so.
Phoenix reached a shoe-melting, spirit-crushing milestone Wednesday: 29 days of temperatures 110 degrees or higher in a single year. The previous record of 28 days was set in 1970 and matched in 2002, according to the National Weather Service.
The streak is enough to vaporize any humor left in the phrase "It's a dry heat." The average number of days 110 or higher in a given year is 10.
"It's a dry heat because we're in a desert!" Ollie Lewis said as she walked to a bus stop in downtown Phoenix.
Austin Jamison, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, said an oven produces dry heat, too. "You can put your head in the oven, but that's not comfortable."
The temperature hit 113 degrees Wednesday afternoon, matching the record high for Aug. 29 set in 1948 and 1981, Jamison said. The weather service is forecasting temperatures of 105 degrees for the rest of the week.
The National Weather Service says urbanization and global climate change could be contributing factors to the heat, but Phoenix has not come close this year to its all-time high of 122 degrees, set in 1990. The hottest day of 2007 was July 4, when the mercury hit 116 degrees.
Still, the string of broiling days was tough to deal with, even for lifelong Phoenix residents like Martin Milner, a construction worker who took a break under a rare shade tree.
"People say you'll get used to it, but you never get used to it," said Milner, who wore a bandanna under his black hard hat to stop the sweat from running down his face. "Every year it gets harder and harder and harder. This year it's just skyrocketed."
Marcia Reid, who moved to Phoenix from New York City five months ago, said the heat doesn't bother her.
"I lived in New York for so long, I got tired of the cold," she said. "I like it here.
"It's a dry heat."