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Unprecedented June Heat on Four Continents; Wimbledon Roasts in Record Heat

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:52 PM GMT on July 01, 2015

Unprecedented June heat scorched portions of four continents during the past week, and many all-time heat records are likely to fall across multiple continents this July as the peak heat of summer arrives for what has been the hottest year in recorded human history. Already on July 1, in Wimbledon, England--site of the classic Wimbledon tennis tournament--players are enduring the city's hottest day in tournament history. The mercury hit 96.3°F (35.7°C) at Kew Gardens, the nearest recording site, topping the previous record of 94.3°F (34.6°C) on June 26, 1976. London's Heathrow Airport has risen to 98.1°F (36.7°C) so far on July 1. This is not only a new all-time July record at that location, but also a July heat record for the UK, topping the previous record of 97.7°F (36.5°C) in Wisley on July 19, 2006.

We've already seen two of the planet's top ten deadliest heat waves in history over the past two months; the Pakistani government announced on Wednesday that the death toll from the brutal June heat wave in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, had hit 1,250. According to statistics from EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, this makes the 2015 heat wave in Pakistan the 8th deadliest in world history. The heat wave that hit India in May, claiming approximately 2,500 lives, ranks as the 5th deadliest:

Death Tolls From the 10 Deadliest Heat Waves in World History
1) Europe, 2003: 71,310
2) Russia, 2010: 55,736
3) Europe, 2006: 3,418
4) India, 1998: 2,541
5) India, 2015: 2,500
6) U.S. and Canada, 1936: 1,693
7) U.S., 1980: 1,260
8) Pakistan, 2015: 1,250
9) India, 2003: 1,210
10) India, 2002: 1,030
10) Greece and Turkey, 1987: 1,030

Figure 1. Novak Djokovic of Serbia wipes his face during the hottest day in Wimbledon history, in a match against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant).

Extreme June heat hits four continents
Portions of four continents--Asia, Europe, North America, and South America--broke all-time June heat records during the past week, with some locations surpassing their all-time heat records for any date:

Asia In addition to the record deadly heat wave that hit Pakistan over the past few weeks, other portions of Asia also saw extreme June heat. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, Ashkabad, the capital of Turkmenistan, set a new all-time record (for any month) with 117°F (47.2°C) on June 30, 2015, smashing the old record of 46.7°C from June 30, 1995. The national all-time heat record of June for Kazakhstan of 45.0°C came within 0.5°C of being matched, as well.

An extreme jet stream configuration is in place over Western Europe, where a strong ridge of high pressure has brought the warmest June temperatures ever recorded to the Spanish cities of Madrid (39.1° on June 28) and Toledo (40.8° on June 30).

The heat will continue over much of Western Europe the remainder of the week, when the hottest temperatures since 2006 are expected. According to Meteo France, on Wednesday, the high temperature at the official Montsouris station in Paris, France hit 103.5°F (39.7°C), the second warmest temperature ever measured there, and not far from Paris' all-time record of 104.7°F (40.4°C) set in July 1947. At least three station in France set all-time heat records:

Boulogne-sur-Mer (station opened in 1947): 35.4°C (Previous record 34.8°C on 08/112003)
Dieppe (station opened in 1949): 38.3°C (Previous record 37°C on 07/09/2006)
Melun (station opened in 1947): 39.4°C (Previous record 38.9°C on 08/122003)

North America A searing heat wave unprecedented for June scorched the Northwest U.S. and Western Canada last weekend, sending temperatures soaring to their highest June levels in recorded history for portions of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia. Both Idaho and Washington set all-time high temperature records for the month of June on Sunday. According to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, the 113°F measured in Walla Walla, Washington beat that state's previous June record of 112°F, set at John Day Dam on June 18, 1961. In addition, the 111°F reading at Lewiston, Idaho was that state's hottest June temperature on record. An automated station at Pittsburg Landing, Idaho hit 116°F, but that reading will have to be verified before being considered official. A few stations had their hottest temperature for any day in recorded history on Sunday, June 28:

• Chief Joseph Dam, Washington, hit 113 degrees, topping the previous all-time record of 110 degrees most recently set on July 23, 2006. This is located near the town of Bridgeport, in north-central Washington. Records date to 1949.
• LaCrosse, Washington, tied their all-time record high of 113 degrees, set previously on Aug. 4, 1961. LaCrosse is in eastern Washington, about 40 miles west-northwest of Pullman. Records, there, date to 1931.
• Chelan, Washington, reached 110 degrees, topping their previous all-time record set just one day earlier (109 degrees). Prior to this heat wave, their all-time record was 106 degrees set most recently on July 22, 1985. Records date to 1958.
• Omak, Washington, also reached 110 degrees, topping their previous all-time record of 109 degrees set on July 8, 2001. Records date to 1931 (Maximiliano Herrera points out, though, that the station has moved 3 times, so this record may be unrepresentative of the conditions at all 3 locations.)
• Bonners Ferry, Idaho, soared to 105 degrees, eclipsing their previous all-time record of 104 degrees on July 16, 1941. Records date to 1907. 

Thanks go to TWC's Jon Erdman for compiling this list.

South America
Prior to 2015, the hottest Colombia had ever been in June was 40.8°C in June 1973 at Guaymaral. That mark was tied on June 20, 2015, at Agustin Codazzi. That mark was smashed on June 25, when both Valledupar and Urumitia hit 41.6°C. On June 27, Urumitia, Colombia beat the new June national record, with a 42.0°C reading. Three major cities, Cartagena, Santa Marta and Riohacha all set their all-time heat records in June. Argentina and Venezuela also recorded their highest June temperatures ever recorded. Thanks go to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera for these stats.

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.