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UPDATE: Summary of Southwest Heat Event through July 2nd

By: Christopher C. Burt, 6:12 AM GMT on July 02, 2013

UPDATE: Summary of Southwest Heat Event through July 2nd

On Tuesday, July 2nd Redding, California measured 116°, just 2° short of their all-time record. Death Valley had a low of 104° on July 2nd, its second hottest night on record since 1920 (hottest was just last summer!). It has been an amazing past six days (June 27-July 2) heat-wise in the West. Many significant heat records have been broken. This is a daily update (July 3rd) on the latest with also some new information about earlier events.


JUNE 27, 2013

The heat wave began to evolve on June 27th with a dome of upper air high pressure centered over northern New Mexico. That day brought an all-time heat record for any location in Santa Fe of 102° at the airport (and a near record 98° to the downtown area). Albuquerque registered 105°, tying their 2nd highest temperature on record (following 107° set on June 26, 1994). See my previous log about the Santa Fe temperature extreme.





Maps of 500 mb contours at 7 a.m. June 27th (top) and temperatures observed on June 27th bottom. Although the caption for the temperatures say “June 28” that is because the map was published at 7 a.m. June 28th but it actually reflects the max/min temperatures for the previous day (June 27th). This, of course holds true all the following maps as well. NOAA/NCDC Daily Weather Maps.


JUNE 28, 2013

By June 28th, last Friday, the dome had slid to the west and become centered over southern Utah. Salt Lake City hit 105° on June 28th, the hottest June temperature on record (previous 104° June 21, 1961). Red Bluff, California reached 110° (not a record) and a site called Iron Mountain in southern California reached 127° (their warmest temperature on record-POR back to 1935) smashing their all-time previous record of 122° set on July 17, 1998 and July 19, 2005 according to the COOP site information received just today (July 1st). The official Death Valley site at Furnace Creek reached 125°, a daily record (note that earlier this month Death Valley measured a record early-season temperature of 126° on June 8th! Zion National Park in Utah measured 114°, their warmest June temp on record and only 1° short of their all-time record of 115 set on July 1, 1950. Temperature records go back to 1904 at Zion.





Maps of 500 mb contours at 7 a.m. June 28th (top) and temperatures observed on June 28th (bottom). NOAA/NCDC Daily Weather Maps.


JUNE 29, 2013

On Saturday, June 29th, the dome of high pressure had migrated slightly to the south and centered over northern Arizona. The following all-time June monthly records were set:

100° Ely, Nevada (previous 99° June 22, 1954)

101° Eureka, Nevada (previous 98° on two occasions)

105° Salt Lake City, Utah (again, see June 28)

122° Palm Springs, California (tied June 28, 1994) and 1° short of all-time record of 123° set on August 1, 1993

128° Death Valley, California (tied previous 128° set on June 29, 1994)

It was 119° in Phoenix, Arizona their 4th warmest reading on record.





Maps of 500 mb contours at 7 a.m. June 29th (top) and temperatures observed on June 29th (bottom). NOAA/NCDC Daily Weather Maps.


JUNE 30, 2013

On Sunday June 30th the high pressure dome became centered over the southern tip of Nevada. Amazing temperatures resulted. All-time records for heat were set at Lancaster, California: 115° (previous record 114° on July 18 and 19, 1960) and tied at Las Vegas, Nevada with a 117° reading (also on July 19, 2005 and July 24, 1942). Overton, Nevada hit 122°, the warmest reading in Nevada for the heat wave. It was 123° in Bullhead City for Arizona's hottest for the entire event.

All-time June monthly records were set or tied at:

104° Elko, Nevada (previous 104° June 24, 1981)

103° Tonopah, Nevada (previous 102° on two occasions), this was also just 1° short of their all-time record of 104° set on July 18, 1960).

106° Winnemucca, Nevada (previous 106° on June 24, 1988)





Maps of 500 mb contours at 7 a.m. June 30th (top) and temperatures for June 30th (bottom). NOAA/NCDC Daily Weather Maps.

But the grand daddy of all was the official 129° at Furnace Creek, the official weather site for Death Valley. In fact the temperature actually reached 129.2°, which is the hottest reliably measured temperature on earth for the month of June.



A photograph of the official Furnace Creek, Death Valley maximum recording thermometer at time of observation on Monday morning July 1st (which was for the maximum temperature measured on June 30th). Observations at the site are made only at 4 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily. The shelter door is not opened at any other time in order to not affect the ambient air temperature inside the shelter. You may have seen a different image of this same thermometer on the NWS-Las Vegas web site posted today (July 1st) that shows the temperature just shy of 129°. That is because THAT photograph was taken after the thermometer had been removed from its shelter and turned vertically, which caused the mercury to slip down the tube about 0.3°F. This photograph was taken prior to the thermometer being removed from the shelter. Photo courtesy of Death Valley National Park and NWS-Las Vegas.



An analysis of the above photograph illustrates that the maximum temperature recorded at the official Furnace Creek, Death Valley site on June 30th was, in fact, 129.2° by calculating the horizontal and vertical placements by pixel length (using an enlargement of the original photo). Officially, the temperature in Death Valley is rounded off to the nearest full degree Fahrenheit, so the official daily maximum on June 30th was 129°. However, we can see that in reality it reached 129.2°, by our best calculation, and thus would be the hottest reliably measured temperature for the month of June on earth. Pixel analysis by Nick Wiltgen of The Weather Channel.

JULY 1, 2013



500 mb chart for July 1st. The heat dome has drifted northward to northern Nevada. Temperatures have eased over the far Southwest but ramped up over Idaho and the interior Northwest. Temperature map for July 1st not yet available. NOAA/NCDC Daily Weather Maps.


On July 1st the temperature again reached record territory in Death Valley with a reading of 127°. However, the worst of the heat has migrated northwards and Boise, Idaho reported 110°, tying its 2nd hottest temperature on record (set on three previous occasions, last time being July 13, 2002) following a 111° reading on July 19, 1960 and also on July 12, 1898. St. George, Utah reached 113° for their warmest reading of the heat wave.

JULY 2, 2013

Redding, California reached 116°. This site is at the north end of the Sacramento Valley and Tuesday' 116° was just 2° short of their all-time heat record of 118° last set on July 20, 1988. In Oregon, the town of Rome hit 108° (a daily record) with the RAWS site of Beverly 5 E peaking at 111°. Missoula, Montana reached 100° and St. Regis (at 2,692' elevation) reached 105°. Butte, Montana set a daily record high of 95° (previous 93° in 1996). The triple-digit heat worked its way up into British Columbia, Canada where Penticton hit 101°. Death Valley had another day at 127° but this followed its warmest night yet so far during the prolonged heat wave with a minimum of 104° (on the official mechanical thermometer! Death Valley's warmest night on record was set just last summer when the temperature failed to drop below 107° on July 12th. Las Vegas hit 115°, tying the daily record high with 1937 and 1950.

All-time warmest June on record for several sites

Meanwhile, this past June was the warmest such on record for Tucson, Arizona with an average of 89.5°, (previous 89.2° in June 1994). For the first time on record every single day in June reached 100° or greater. Phoenix and Las Vegas also reported their warmest June on record with 94.8° at Phoenix (previous 94.6° in June 2006) and 91.5° at Las Vegas (previous 90.5° also in June 2006). It was also Death Valley's warmest June on record with an average of 101.3° and also for Needles, California with 95.8°.

Hot nights as well

Salt Lake City had a calendar day minimum of 80° on Sunday, June 30th, tying for its warmest such with July 16, 2003. Likewise, Las Vegas had a minimum of 95° on July 1st, tied with its other hottest night on record July 19, 2005.

I just mentioned Death Valley's 104° minimum on July 2nd. This would rank as its 2nd hottest night on record (after last summer's 107° on July 12th) if one discounts some dubious readings from the 1917-1920 era: those were 110° on July 5, 1918, 106° on August 1, 1920, and 105° on July 11, 1920 and July 22, 1917.

Of course, there have been many other all-time, monthly, and daily records set throughout the region the past five day, these are just the highlights. The ore of the heat is moving north and on Wednesday July 3rd we may see more records in the Montana, Oregon, and Washington area.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Heat

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

Reader Comments

Iron Mountain "record" is complete garbage. On 28 June it wasn't more than 115F. The only record, apart from the new world record in the past thousands years on earth, is the incompetence of noaa and his "dogs" who reports all their fake data
WHAT MADE IT GO JUST SHY OF 129 . I ACCEPT NWS READING
TASWINDER SINGH CHAGGAR
Temperatures of 55 deg centigrade have been recorded in Iran in June
Taswinder Singh Chaggar
Quoting 3. maharaja:
Temperatures of 55 deg centigrade have been recorded in Iran in June
Taswinder Singh Chaggar


NOT TRUE.
Temperatures in Iran have never been more than 53C with modern equipments. Before 1994 there were old mechanic stations which were giving maximum 3C higher than real. This can be seen clearly in the average temperatures which suddenly drops by 3C in average max. after the instruments were replaced.
Under standard conditions no place on earth has ever recorded more than 54C. (In July 1913 Death Valley didn t even reach 120F, but this new scam is worst than the AZizia's case)
Christopher, I wonder if you saw the 128.7 F temperature that was recorded twice at station OCWC1 in Ocotillo Wells, California on June 29? Although somewhat high, this temperature doesn't seem that far out of line with what would be expected for the area.

http://famtest.nwcg.gov/roman/cgi-bin/meso_base_p ast.cgi?stn=OCWC1&unit=0&time=LOCAL&day1=30&month1 =06&year1=2013&hour1=0

Also, what about the validity of the previous 129 in Volcano, CA?
Quoting 5. pegminer:
Christopher, I wonder if you saw the 128.7 F temperature that was recorded twice at station OCWC1 in Ocotillo Wells, California on June 29? Although somewhat high, this temperature doesn't seem that far out of line with what would be expected for the area.

http://famtest.nwcg.gov/roman/cgi-bin/meso_base_p ast.cgi?stn=OCWC1&unit=0&time=LOCAL&day1=30&month1 =06&year1=2013&hour1=0

Also, what about the validity of the previous 129 in Volcano, CA?


I can't access the link you sent about Ocotillo Wells, but suspect it was a RAWS site. There were a number of very high temps reported from various RAWS sites the past week and most of these are not official measurements unless they are part of the NCDC COOP network. That also brings up the question of the Volcano Springs data from 1902. Volcano Springs only had COOP status between 1904-1906. The ancient temperature data from Volcano Springs, Mammoth Tank, Amos, and Salton from the 1880-1906 POR come from watering sites for the engines of the Southern Pacific Railway system in and around what is now the Salton Sea. All of these are suspicious to say the least (Max would have more colorful language to describe them). Why the NCDC still has the Volcano Spring 129° figure still on their books as an 'offical' reading is a mystery.
Dr. Burt will your talk at Death Valley on July 10th be available on line in real time or on a video later?
The OCWC1 site is part of the CA-Hydro network and is run by NOAA.

Sorry about the link, I can't seem to get it to format correctly as a comment. The site information can be found on the Mesowest website, and the date was June 29.
I hope not :-) since some may not be happy about my view of the valididty of the 134° reading. Also, I am not a 'Doc' but thanks for the consideration and your comment!

Quoting 7. DonnieBwkGA:
Dr. Burt will your talk at Death Valley on July 10th be available on line in real time or on a video later?
Quoting 8. pegminer:
The OCWC1 site is part of the CA-Hydro network and is run by NOAA.

Sorry about the link, I can't seem to get it to format correctly as a comment. The site information can be found on the Mesowest website, and the date was June 29.


There are a lot of NOAA administered weather data networks but only those designated as COOPS, ASOS, and first order sites are valid for 'official' temperature records. Frankly, it is a confusing network and the fact is that even the NCDC doesn't seem to apply the rules in a methodical fashion (so far as historical temperature records in the U.S.) are concerned. See my comment earlier about the 129° figure at Volcano Springs in this regard.
Quoting 9. weatherhistorian:
I hope not :-) since some may not be happy about my view of the valididty of the 134%uFFFD reading. Also, I am not a 'Doc' but thanks for the consideration and your comment!



A view of only a completely incompetent with no even the basic knowledgment of meteorology.
Even a 2 years old child knows perfectly in 1913 temperature NEVER went above 118F in the Death valley.
Otherwise would have violated all basic laws of physics.

But we know, so many doctors bought their titles and keep cheating people with that ridiculous SCAM, 1000 times worse than Azizia, that world record you have always defended and written in your books with all those ridiculous explanations of "heat bursts" and so on.

Up with the truth and honesty than ! And since i can see people never learn even after million mistakes, up with intelligence too ! A monkey would have learnt already from his thousands past mistakes....,but it seems some people never do.

Finally we have the matter of HONESTY. These words sound like the ones of a people who has a guilty consciencie because he knows he doing the wrong thing. One with his convinced of his ideas and his coherency wouldn't care if another wasn't happy or not.
Thanks for all of these historical updates Mr. Burt. I enjoy your entries on these topics. Decided to join the boards although I'll not have important contributions. I do though, have a history of excitement over weather records spanning decades. I recall as a kid in 1972 when I threw a FIT while visiting family in San Diego that we had that day missed a new all time record high in our hometown of San Jose of 108. I demanded we drive back up so I could experience it. I still have the newspaper clippings.
Thankfully, in 2000, I was redeemed by witnessing a "new" record of 109. I've heard though, that is being reviewed. My unofficial backyard thermometer also hit 109 that day, not 1/4 mile from the official city site. So they can't take that away from me!
I look forward to more updates. Thanks again.
maxcrc - Could you elaborate a bit? Happy to take offline so as not to bog down Mr. Burt's blog.

I have always been very skeptical myself. Also regarding the Asian record (Israel).

Is the basis for the invalidity that other desert SW locations were nowhere near the 120 degree range, as they almost always are when Death Valley gets in to the upper 120s? It would seem that going through the records to see what is the maximum departure of Death Valley from, say, the average of stations sited below 2500' within 150 miles. This would include all Death Valley recordings above 125F.
I do think that Death Valley is just a little bit special (compared to most other SW locations) in one way: it is the lowest point around for thousands of miles. That means that convection and advection cannot draw up denser air from lower elevations, which would otherwise cool as it rose, moderating the temperature. In fact, Death Valley has quite a bit of high terrain around it, so already-hot air must travel downslope to the valley floor, undergoing compressional heating.
Quoting 14. Snowfire:
I do think that Death Valley is just a little bit special (compared to most other SW locations) in one way: it is the lowest point around for thousands of miles. That means that convection and advection cannot draw up denser air from lower elevations, which would otherwise cool as it rose, moderating the temperature. In fact, Death Valley has quite a bit of high terrain around it, so already-hot air must travel downslope to the valley floor, undergoing compressional heating.


Yes, DV is unique, at least in the U.S. Today (July 3) the temp range was 102°-128° (4 p.m. obs), may have gone higher after 4 p.m. but I doubt it, and yesterday 104°-127°. Both days are AFTER the peak readings were reached at other locations in the region and although DV hasn't seen 129° yet like Sunday, it shows that some residual heat remains 'trapped' in the valley even after the rest of the region starts to cool down.
Quoting 11. maxcrc:


A view of only a completely incompetent with no even the basic knowledgment of meteorology.
Even a 2 years old child knows perfectly in 1913 temperature NEVER went above 118F in the Death valley.
Otherwise would have violated all basic laws of physics.

But we know, so many doctors bought their titles and keep cheating people with that ridiculous SCAM, 1000 times worse than Azizia, that world record you have always defended and written in your books with all those ridiculous explanations of "heat bursts" and so on.

Up with the truth and honesty than ! And since i can see people never learn even after million mistakes, up with intelligence too ! A monkey would have learnt already from his thousands past mistakes....,but it seems some people never do.

Finally we have the matter of HONESTY. These words sound like the ones of a people who has a guilty consciencie because he knows he doing the wrong thing. One with his convinced of his ideas and his coherency wouldn't care if another wasn't happy or not.



maxcrc - Can you repeat this in English?
The statement in the blog that Tucson reached or exceeded 100 degrees every day in June is contradicted by the historical data right here on wunderground, which shows highs of 99 and 98 for June 4 & 5 respectively.
Twenty-eight out of thirty is still a lot, though.
Quoting 17. NSlonimsky:
The statement in the blog that Tucson reached or exceeded 100 degrees every day in June is contradicted by the historical data right here on wunderground, which shows highs of 99 and 98 for June 4 & 5 respectively.
Twenty-eight out of thirty is still a lot, though.


Actually, the WU site for Tucson is not the official NWS site. At the official site every day reached 100° or higher during June for the first time on record. The full report can be read in this special statement NWS-Tucson issued recently:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/twc/climate/monthly/jun13 .php
Quoting 17. NSlonimsky:
The statement in the blog that Tucson reached or exceeded 100 degrees every day in June is contradicted by the historical data right here on wunderground, which shows highs of 99 and 98 for June 4 & 5 respectively.
Twenty-eight out of thirty is still a lot, though.
As Mr. Burt stated, the NWS controls the station of record.

Tucson"

Truly, a truly remarkable event...
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
Mr. Burt, I find your research fascinating. Not that I would ever want to take away Death Valley's 134 record (it's my favorite place on Earth!) but commonsense and experience surely suggest that the reading was faulty. In fact, I'm sure you're correct in saying that the 129.2 was the hottest truly verified temperature ever recorded. (As someone who runs in Death Valley every year, I know 'hotspots' that are without doubt warmer than the Furnace Creek station, but I'm sure it would be tough to get an official station set up on the Badwater Basin or halfway up Artist's Drive.)

Anyway, for reasons best known to myself, I decided to run at 4pm precisely on June 30th, from the Badwater Junction down to the Visitor Center. In a Darth Vader suit. (www.darthvalley.com if you're interested.) If it ever turns out that I did so on the hottest day in history... well, I'll be a happy man!

Thank you for continuing to make the case for accuracy regarding extreme temperatures, I thoroughly enjoy tracking your results!
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Quoting 21. DarthValley:
Mr. Burt, I find your research fascinating. Not that I would ever want to take away Death Valley's 134 record (it's my favorite place on Earth!) but commonsense and experience surely suggest that the reading was faulty. In fact, I'm sure you're correct in saying that the 129.2 was the hottest truly verified temperature ever recorded. (As someone who runs in Death Valley every year, I know 'hotspots' that are without doubt warmer than the Furnace Creek station, but I'm sure it would be tough to get an official station set up on the Badwater Basin or halfway up Artist's Drive.)

Anyway, for reasons best known to myself, I decided to run at 4pm precisely on June 30th, from the Badwater Junction down to the Visitor Center. In a Darth Vader suit. (www.darthvalley.com if you're interested.) If it ever turns out that I did so on the hottest day in history... well, I'll be a happy man!

Thank you for continuing to make the case for accuracy regarding extreme temperatures, I thoroughly enjoy tracking your results!


Thanks for this! I read your comment for the first time just now (July 27). I usually don't note comments after the session has been 'closed'.

Yes, a lot of questions about the 134°F DV record. I'm working on it.

But there is a problem: IF the WMO overturns the 1913 DV record, then the official hottest spot for the world falls to Kebili, Tunisia with its 55°C (131°F) another bogus reading from North Africa in the 1930s. Then the official U.S. record would fall to Amos, CA with its 130°F reading back around 1900. Also bogus. These are the readings the WMO would then have to deal with if the Greenland Ranch record were overturned.

It just becomes a rat case until, finally, the DV reading of 129.2°F (54.0°C) is recognized as the hottest reliable temperature yet measured on Earth.

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