Jul 17, 2023 - Climate

Yes, it's hot in Phoenix, but we still love living here

The sun rises at Tempe Town Lake on July 12. Photo: Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

I'm from metro Phoenix. I've lived here almost my entire 30 years on this planet. And I've come to expect a certain social media cadence when the temperatures top 110 degrees.

What's happening: Midwesterners and East Coast dwellers question how we could possibly live somewhere so uninhabitable and cruel.

Reality check: Nearly 57,000 people moved to Maricopa County last year and we've held the title of "fastest growing county by numeric growth" for most of the past decade, per the U.S. Census Bureau.

Yes, but: It's both unhelpful and disingenuous to pretend the extreme heat we're struggling through is not dangerous and uncomfortable.

  • 425 people suffered heat-related deaths last year and our most vulnerable neighbors — the unhoused and elderly — bear particular risk in this climate.
  • Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the country, yet FEMA doesn't recognize it as an official disaster, which would unlock federal funds. Local officials are lobbying to change that — and we're not helping by downplaying the realities of our summer weather.
  • Plus, you're really telling me you wouldn't summer in San Diego — or pretty much anywhere else — if given the option?

The bottom line: I love living here. I'm proud to be from here. And it bugs me when people ignore their own hellish weather conditions (blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) and poke fun at ours.

  • And, I can still be concerned about our increasingly deadly heat and the lack of resources invested to protect people who don't have the luxury to stay inside air-conditioned buildings all summer long.

Jeremy's thought bubble: Like Jessica, I'm a native Phoenician who's been here most of his life, and I'll second everything she said.

  • It may be an overused cliche to say, "It's a dry heat," but it's true. As a kid, I used to visit my dad every summer in ultra-humid Jacksonville, Florida, and every year I looked forward to returning to what I viewed as Phoenix's superior weather.
  • Still, our summer heat can take its toll. I got a rude awakening after coming home from Carlsbad and San Diego earlier this month, and even found myself getting a bit woozy while grocery shopping, which made me realize I hadn't drank enough water that day.

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