#8 Death Valley's World Record: 100-Year Anniversary
On July 10, 1913, an observer in Death Valley, Calif. measured an almost incomprehensible high temperature of 134 degrees.
National Weather Service - Las Vegas, Nev.
Cooperative observer log from July 1913 documenting the 134-degree high at Death Valley's Greenland Ranch.
This is 13 degrees hotter than the hottest temperatures measured in the Plains states during the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s and 12 degrees hotter than the all-time record high at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
To be fair, this high is the subject of a bit of controversy.
According to Christopher C. Burt, author of "Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book" (Wunderground blog), a sandstorm was in progress at the time of the observation.
Some speculated grains of hot sand or dust were driven into the thermometer itself. No documentation exists regarding the condition of the thermometer's shelter or its accuracy.
Regardless, Death Valley holds the world record for hottest recorded temperature, after a committee headed up by Burt last year overturned the previous world record set in Al Azizia, Libya.
The summer of 1996 featured daytime highs over 120 degrees for forty days. Five years later, the valley sizzled in a stretch of 154 consecutive days of triple-digit heat, a roughly five-month stretch!
On July 12, 2012, the morning "low" temperature was 107 degrees. Yes, we said morning low. Only two other days in Death Valley had a morning low that was hotter, both registering 110 degree lows (Jun. 29, 1922 and Jul. 5, 1918). These incredibly record hot lows in Death Valley exceed all-time record highs in New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago!
Those are just air temperatures. How hot can ground temperatures get? Try an incredible 201 degrees, measured at Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972. Yep...11 degrees from the boiling point of water! The maximum air temperature measured that day was 128 degrees.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, let's next touch on a pair of incredible winter storms.