Special Report

It Is 118 Degrees in This Huge American City

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The American Southwest is in the vice of a massive heat wave that covers several states. The all-time U.S. record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit, set in Death Valley, California, on July 10, 1913, could even fall. 

This spike coincides with one of the worst droughts since the government began to keep records. It covers states as far north as Montana, as far west as California and Oregon, and as far south as Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas on the Mexican border, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

Massive areas of cropland and cattle ranges could be ruined for decades. Meanwhile, the nation’s 10th largest city — Phoenix — has recently reported temperatures approaching 120 degrees. The highest temp on record in Phoenix is 122 degrees, the highest temperature of any city considered for this list. 

Click here to see the hottest cities in America. 

Phoenix’s population of 5,059,909 has grown over 10% in the past decade. This makes it among the fastest-growing large cities in the country. The city’s population has more than doubled since 1990, when the figure was 2,238,480, and quadrupled since 1970, when it was 1,039,144. Many people move to Phoenix because of the warm, dry weather and the lack of the kind of cold winter in the northern tier of states. These people currently live in a city that may be barely habitable during some parts of the summer.

Weather.com forecasts temperatures of 118 degrees in Phoenix on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to stay at that level during the daytime for the next three days. Phoenix is also in one of the epicenters of the drought, in an area the Drought Monitor designates as “exceptional drought.” That is the worst kind possible, described as “Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses and shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies.” Nearby, The Telegraph Fire has burned over 104,755 acres and continues to spread rapidly. It is already one of the largest wildfires in state history.

Julie Malingowski, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, told The New York Times, “There’s no relief overnight, so if people don’t have proper air-conditioning and can’t cool off, there’s not that respite.” Based on weather patterns, the lack of relief during the hottest days likely will go on for years, or longer.

To determine the hottest cities in the U.S., 24/7 Wall St. reviewed comparative climatic data from the National Centers for Environmental Information (a part of NOAA), which tracks the highest temperature on record and the mean number of days in a year where the maximum temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more as recorded by select weather observing stations within all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Pacific Islands.

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47. Colorado Springs, CO
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 101 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 19
> Population in 2019: 464,871

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46. New Orleans, LA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 102 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 75
> Population in 2019: 390,845

Source: july7th / E+ via Getty Images

45. Seattle, WA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 103 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 3
> Population in 2019: 724,305

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

44. Boston, MA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 103 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 13
> Population in 2019: 684,379

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43. Milwaukee, WI
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 103 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 10
> Population in 2019: 594,548

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42. Pittsburgh, PA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 103 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 9
> Population in 2019: 302,205

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41. Chicago, IL
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 17
> Population in 2019: 2,709,534

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40. Philadelphia, PA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 25
> Population in 2019: 1,579,075

Source: traveler1116 / E+ via Getty Images

39. Columbus, OH
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 19
> Population in 2019: 878,553

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38. Charlotte, NC
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 46
> Population in 2019: 857,425

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37. Denver, CO
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 36
> Population in 2019: 705,576

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36. Detroit, MI
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 12
> Population in 2019: 674,841

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

35. Cleveland, OH
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 13
> Population in 2019: 385,282

Source: pawel.gaul / E+ via Getty Images

34. Cincinnati, OH
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 104 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 23
> Population in 2019: 301,394

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33. Jacksonville, FL
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 105 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 82
> Population in 2019: 890,467

Source: SerrNovik / iStock via Getty Images

32. Indianapolis, IN
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 105 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 19
> Population in 2019: 864,447

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31. Raleigh, NC
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 105 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 44
> Population in 2019: 464,485

Source: georgeclerk / E+ via Getty Images

30. San Francisco, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 106 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 2
> Population in 2019: 874,961

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

29. Baltimore, MD
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 106 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 31
> Population in 2019: 609,032

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

28. Atlanta, GA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 106 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 44
> Population in 2019: 488,800

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

27. Portland, OR
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 107 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 12
> Population in 2019: 645,291

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

26. Albuquerque, NM
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 107 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 64
> Population in 2019: 559,374

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

25. Memphis, TN
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 108 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 68
> Population in 2019: 651,932

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24. Lincoln, NE
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 108 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 42
> Population in 2019: 283,839

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

23. Newark, NJ
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 108 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 23
> Population in 2019: 281,054

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

22. Houston, TX
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 109 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 104
> Population in 2019: 2,310,432

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21. Kansas City, MO
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 109 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 37
> Population in 2019: 486,404

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20. Corpus Christi, TX
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 109 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 112
> Population in 2019: 325,780

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

19. Omaha, NE
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 110 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 34
> Population in 2019: 475,862

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

18. San Antonio, TX
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 111 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 116
> Population in 2019: 1,508,083

Source: Jerry Uomala / iStock via Getty Images

17. San Diego, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 111 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 3
> Population in 2019: 1,409,573

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16. Long Beach, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 111 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 21
> Population in 2019: 466,776

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

15. Dallas, TX
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 112 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 103
> Population in 2019: 1,330,612

Source: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / iStock via Getty Images

14. Austin, TX
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 112 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 114
> Population in 2019: 950,807

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13. Los Angeles, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 113 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 21
> Population in 2019: 3,966,936

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

12. Oklahoma City, OK
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 113 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 71
> Population in 2019: 643,692

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11. Fresno, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 113 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 108
> Population in 2019: 525,010

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

10. Tulsa, OK
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 113 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 73
> Population in 2019: 402,324

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

9. Wichita, KS
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 113 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 64
> Population in 2019: 389,877

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

8. El Paso, TX
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 114 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 107
> Population in 2019: 679,813

Source: Chris LaBasco / iStock via Getty Images

7. Sacramento, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 115 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 74
> Population in 2019: 500,930

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6. Bakersfield, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 115 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 110
> Population in 2019: 377,917

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

5. Stockton, CA
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 115 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 83
> Population in 2019: 309,228

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

4. St. Louis, MO
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 115 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 45
> Population in 2019: 308,174

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Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

3. Las Vegas, NV
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 117 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 135
> Population in 2019: 634,773

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

2. Tucson, AZ
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 117 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 147
> Population in 2019: 541,482

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

1. Phoenix, AZ
> Highest temp on record (1940-2018): 122 F
> Days per year with 90 F+ temp: 169
> Population in 2019: 1,633,017

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