They don’t call it “Death Valley” for nothing: on Sunday, temperatures in the Furnace Creek area of the Southern California desert topped out at a whopping 130 degrees Fahrenheit, making it at least the hottest temperature recorded in the United States since 1913 — and likely the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded in the world.
Technically, the hottest temperature in the United States was also recorded in Death Valley, with the mercury soaring all the way to 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. However, as CBS News points out, “many experts contend that temperature reading, along with various other temperatures recorded that summer, was likely an observer error.”
“Because of the unique landscape and meteorology, the daily readings from the various observation sites in that area of the desert Southwest are almost always in lockstep with each other,” the publication notes. “But during the week the all-time record was set in 1913, while other sites were around 8 degrees above normal, the Death Valley readings were 18 degrees above normal.”
A reading of 131 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in Tunisia in 1931, but Weather Underground historian Christopher Burt has said that, like the 1913 Death Valley reading, it had “serious credibility issues.”
The previous “reliably recorded” hottest temperature on Earth was 129.2 degrees, recorded in 2013 in — you guessed it — Death Valley. And those looking for a little relief from this most recent brutal heatwave will have to wait a while longer: Sunday’s historic reading is part of a heat dome covering the West Coast that is expected to get worse through Tuesday.
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