How many ways can you say hot?

In Arizona, many pass the time coming up with new descriptions for what temperatures feel like when they climb over 100 degrees in the Sonoran Desert.

Scorching, blistering and toasty are a few words that come to mind.

Similes include: hot air like an oven; so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. Actually, many news reporters have tried that last one, and it’s really not true.

In my current manuscript for book two in the “Behind the Mic Mysteries,” called “Dead Air,” I have the story set during a couple of weeks in mid to late July. That’s usually when temps are at their highest, so I’m trying to describe the heat in a variety of ways:

…still 92 degrees at 3 in the morning.

His brow is covered with perspiration.

His shirt is wet with sweat under his arms and down his back.

Perspiration trickles from my forehead down my cheek.

The bright sun over the palm and mesquite trees already burns hot…

With the mid afternoon sun, tall palm trees cast long shadows over the four lanes of Arizona Avenue…

The intense Sonoran Desert sun beats down, causing massive ripples of highway mirage on the gray asphalt.

The grass is crispy brown with the harsh sun’s rays…

Johnstone’s window comes down, and a blast of cool air is welcome on my face.

His electric window slides back up, and the cold breeze is gone.

The weather app on my phone notes it’s already 80 degrees at 7 a.m.

I can’t afford to keel over from heat exhaustion.

Sure, summer is when most people take their vacations, and in the Valley of the Sun, everyone wants to get outta Dodge during the soaring desert temps.

A trickle of salty perspiration stings my eye and I blink it out.

The intense sun feels good on my face after all the indoor air-conditioning…

Moisture beads on her dark forehead…

His face is shiny with sweat.


In addition, in Arizona, parking in the summertime is an art:

I find a few scraggly branches creating a tiny awning in the hospital parking lot to park under, put my visor in the window and trudge in.

In only the half hour since I’ve parked it and been at the station, my car is already like an oven when I climb in.

Is it better to park in the sun but be closer and not have to walk so far? Or to park further back in the shade but walk a longer distance?”


Monsoon season is typically in July and August in the Valley of the Sun, so of course I have to make references to that as well:

Thunder boomers look like they’re gathering in the southeast Valley, and along with the dark sky, it looks like we could have a storm tonight.

Lightning flashes during practice, visible through the upstairs windows, turn out to be a precursor of a huge monsoon storm.

By the time we finish, sweaty and hot, the downpour of rain is already causing huge puddles in the parking lot, and the temperature has dropped at least 10 degrees.

After the rain last night, it’s a muggy, humid morning as I drive to KWLF.


I sprinkle other references to summer throughout, including the use of “misters around the edge of the roof emit a fine spray to reduce the temperature to a bearable one,” and many references to drinking plenty of water.

Got any more good descriptions for hot Arizona? Post a comment here or on Facebook or email me at If I use your line, I’ll give you a purple and silver pen with my name and website on it.

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