120 degrees is uncommon, epic, and dangerous

UPDATED to add Monday’s temps.


The number is kind of legendary around here. ‘A hundred and twenty degrees’ is one of those numbers that people throw around when they talk about life in the desert. People in the Parker area act like they own it, but the truth is that people talk about 120 degrees in the same reverent tones in Palm Springs and in Phoenix and other desert cities too.

This week’s heat wave has been anticipated in the forecast for a while now, with people preparing mentally for the boost in temps, particularly because the temperatures were running well below average last week. But for all the talk of 120-degree summers, how common is it to reach that temperature on the Parker Strip?

It’s very rare. In fact, when scouring the National Weather Service data for Parker, AZ, there were only 2 days in the past 6 years when the official temperature rose that high, and both were back-to-back days in June 2013 (on the 29th we hit 120 and on the 30th we hit 121).

In fact, the average high temps in Parker during July and August are 108 and 107 respectively.


So Sunday’s high of 121 degrees and Monday’s high of 125 DEGREES is an epic event, an incredible glimpse of Death Valley -like heat. The weather didn’t stop anybody getting out and enjoying the cool Colorado River over the weekend, but construction crews were stopped, a recycling center in Big River told us they shut down after somebody got heatstroke Sunday, and pets are needing special care as everybody hunkers down.

In fact, everybody needs to take special care this week, especially the most vulnerable. Look after your kids, especially if any part of their day is outdoors. Check in on elderly neighbors. Make sure pets aren’t suffering. The worst of the heat will be Monday and Tuesday, but the rest of the week will be hotter than average too.

As long as everybody stays safe, there’s always a story after this kind of weather. Like the fact that I just picked up my parents and brought them to Parker as they visit from Ireland, where the current high is 60 degrees. Hey, it’ll give them something to talk about!

And the next time somebody talks about 120 degrees, remind them of how rare – and dangerous – it actually is.


  1. Loretta Flaherty

    It’s very common in Parker! Been here 12 years and every year it hits the 120s.

  2. Laurie Wise

    Yep. I lived on a mining claim near Ehrenberg for several years where the temps were even higher. Moved to Bouse, 30 years ago and found 120 temps cold. Kept wondering what people were complaining about.

  3. Parker Live Updates

    Nope. Read the article – official temps rarely hit 120 (only twice in the past 6 years).

  4. Judy Mcwhorter

    Hot a hades here as well

  5. Tina Rose

    Drink water everyone and keep an eye on your PETS!!!

  6. Gabrielle Nez

    Lies!! It’s always 120 here during the summer!!

  7. Parker Live Updates

    Because cars and bank thermometers are always more accurate than the National Weather Service. 😉

  8. Gabrielle Nez

    I’m sure! Their ones sitting out in the heat!!

  9. Loretta Flaherty

    The last three years alone it’s hit 131 degrees, so the weather people are wrong lol

  10. Parker Live Updates

    Loretta- Where do you get your information? If your answer is not “From a professionally calibrated weather station”, then you should listen to the official record. 🙂

  11. Melanie Bonanno

    Have a place here the last 23 years on blue water Lagoon we have seen 125 + ! Yep ! It can be Hell in Parker ????????????????????

  12. Jerry Griffin

    It was 120 yesterday and today. Lol 131 is total bs tho. Lol

  13. Gabrielle Nez

    So next year he can say it’s reached 120 four times in the past 7 years. Smart guy

  14. Marianna Benner

    Just to put it in perspective I have had my professionally calibrated system here for three summers these are the highest temperatures I have recorded on the Parker Strip. Since I am a certified weather spotter representing La Paz Co I am mandated to report correct temperatures
    2014 117
    2015 118
    2016 so far 121
    It’s not common to go over 120 here but we do have hotter summers than Phoenix more days over 110 that is all sorry no 130’s????

  15. Cyndi D

    Felt like my skin was going to melt off ????

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