Record heat in the West, freezing cold in the East

While the northeast shivers in rain and blustery winds, over here in the American Southwest turkeys are not the only thing being baked on this Thanksgiving morning. Today’s temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to high-80s. Which is 15 F to 20 F above normal for us in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Ah well. Don’t mean to sound as if I am complaining. This is beautiful weather and an unexpected extension of the “Indian Summer.”

But we’ve had practically no serious rain for four months. And no rain at all for 85 days – and counting. This is only the second time since records have been kept that the Phoenix/Scottsdale have been dry for this long. The only other instance was in 1973.

The famous line “but it’s dry heat,” which the Arizona residents use to explain our endurance during the scorching summer heat, has this year taking a new meaning: “Dry” and “LONG.” 🙂

Even the cacti in our back yard have had enough of this desert climate. Some are shriveling up and keeling over like the leaning tower of Pisa even if I water them occasionally (see the photo).

Happy Thanksgiving!


Elizabeth and I went out yesterday for long walk in this warm weather along the green belt of our North Scottsdale neighborhood.

At the end, there is a children’s playground where in 2008, when we first did this walk, Elizabeth went down a slide like kid. She did it again yesterday. 🙂

It was fun.


The lights are still not out on our Thanksgiving, yet the Christmas lights are already up in full splendor in our North Scottsdale neighborhood.

Here’s what I saw during my evening walk on this Thanksgiving Day 2017.

They are actually quite beautiful and artistically done, aren’t they?

Now, let me let you in on a little prickly secret. Each of the cacti and trees has millions of thorns. So you can imagine how much “fun” someone had putting up all these lights. Ouch! 😦

UPDATE Dec 9, 2017


This afternoon, I did my desert “daily double.” A triple actually – two bike rides plus a hike in the McDowell Mountains.

It felt great. I have not done something like that for a while. Mostly because of weather. This has been the hottest autumn I remember. But the temperatures are now approaching “normal” for this time of the year – highs in the low-70°s F, lows in the mid 40°s F.  Ergo… my “daily double.”

On my way back from the hike, I was struck by the sad look of this giant Saguaro and the desert plants around it. And then I remembered that three years ago, I took a picture of this same Saguaro at this same spot returning from another hike.

I have found that December 2014 photo now and was shocked with what I saw (see FIRST EVER WINTER THUNDERSTORM – https://wp.me/p3R16m-1u4, Dec 13, 2014).

Want to see the look of drought in the desert after more than 100 days of no rain?

Take a look at that Saguaro, the King of the Desert. What do you see that’s different between then and now?

Well, yes, its arms have grown.  They have more than doubled in size in three years. But one of his arms is now drooping right down toward the ground.  Heat exhaustion! And its neighbors, the hardy desert bushed, have all succumbed to the long hot summer, followed by a long hot fall.

And the forecast for the next 10 days is the same as it has been in the last 110 or so: Zero chance of rain. 😦

UPDATE DEC 11, 2017


During my evening walk around our North Scottsdale neighborhood, I came upon these beautiful lights.

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