Cover the plants, crank up the heat and apply lip balm. Cold, dry weather is here. Following a brush with freezing temperatures on Wednesday, thermometers in the Valley will be recording even lower readings over the next two days.
Through Friday, daytime highs will hover in the mid-50s — more than 10 degrees below normal.
And overnight this evening, even the warmer areas of the Valley will experience lows just below the freezing point.
A freeze warning was in effect through this morning, and it is likely another will be issued for Friday.
Wednesday morning’s official low was 36 degrees, but Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale and Deer Valley felt temperatures of 32 degrees and lower. The high at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport topped out at a brisk 59.
Bringing the cold weather is a double shot of strong but dry low-pressure systems diving into Arizona from the Pacific Northwest.
The first blast arrived on Christmas, dropping temperatures and raising dust with gusts up to 45 mph at the airport.
In California, the wind was even stronger, with Los Angeles recording a gust of 107 mph.
Left behind was cold air that was so dry, dew points in the single digits were seen Wednesday over much of the Valley. In comparison, the summer monsoon typically has dew points of at least 55 degrees.
“Moisture has the capability to hold heat,” said Jessica Nolte, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Phoenix. “When it really dries out, it allows temperatures to cool down.”
The second chill came Wednesday night, bringing a freeze to the Valley and a dusting of snow to the high country.
Late in the weekend, the forecast calls for a warming trend to begin, and seasonable temperatures will return by Monday.