The Global Average Brightness Temperature on a world map
The Global Average Brightness Temperature on a world map. Credit: NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, Flickr.
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LOS ANGELES — It's a dry heat, Phoenix residents like to say about Arizona's hot weather. That bravado may vanish as the thermometer flirts with 120 degrees this weekend.

Phoenix won't be alone in the oven. A strengthening ridge of high pressure lifting out of Mexico is on course to also scorch other parts of Arizona and Southern California, bringing potentially record-shattering temperatures.

Though accustomed to triple digits, the upcoming heat spell is a rarity in Phoenix, a desert metropolis of 1.5 million people, raising concerns of heat stroke.

Temperatures are predicted to hit 118 degrees in Phoenix on Sunday and peak at 119 degrees Monday. Such heat is "rare, dangerous and deadly," according to a National Weather Service warning.

"This is extreme even for our standards," said Matthew Hirsch, a weather service meteorologist in Phoenix.

The hottest day on record in Phoenix occurred June 26, 1990, when the thermometer reached 122 degrees.

Extreme heat is likely to become more common, scientists say, blaming man-made greenhouse gas pollution.

Kristie Ebi is quoted in this article.

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