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Morocco hits 121°F (49.6°C): a national all-time heat record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:01 AM GMT on July 18, 2012

The first new all-time national temperature record of 2012 belongs to Morocco, thanks to the 121.3°F (49.6°C) temperature measured at Marrakech on July 17, 2012. According to the Wunderground International Records data base maintained by our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, the previous record was 120.4°F (49.1°C) at Agadir on July 30, 2009. A hotter temperature of 51.7°C (125.1°F) was reported from Aghadir (Agadir) Souss Massa Dra region on 17 August 1940 during a chergui wind event. However, this reading is considered unreliable by weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, since the temperature was 6°C higher than that measured at nearby stations.

Seven nations set all time heat records in 2011. Nineteen nations (plus the the U.K.'s Ascension Island) set all-time extreme heat records in 2010. One nation (Zambia, in 2011) set an all-time cold record during the period 2010 - 2012. With a very hot airmass in place over much of North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia the remainder of this week, more all-time national heat records may fall.

Figure 1. A sample image of what the new Fire Risk layer on our wundermap looks like. This is the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, one of several indices that can be used to measure fire risk. Blue and green colors represent lower risks, while yellow and orange colors show higher risk. The highest risk is shown in dark red. The legend for the Fire Risk layer explains that these highest risk areas are often associated with more severe drought with increased wildfire occurrence. Intense, deep burning fires with significant downwind spotting can be expected. Live fuels can also be expected to burn actively at these levels.

Wunderground releases new fire risk layer on its wundermap
Our interactive wundermap, which allows one to overlay multiple meteorological data sets, has a new layer: a Fire Risk layer. Using data from the U.S. Forest Service's Wildland Fire Assessment System, we give you option to plot up U.S. fire danger using a variety of options: Fire Danger Rating, Lower Atmosphere Stability (Haines Index), Keetch-Byram Drought Index, 10-hr Dead Fuel Moisture, 100-hr Dead Fuel Moisture, and 1000-hr Dead Fuel Moisture. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, California currently has the most number of of large fires burning of any state (5), which makes sense, given what the fire risk map above is showing.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.