When you name a place “Furnace Creek,” you have certain expectations, and those expectations were exceeded over the weekend.
The National Weather Service announced on Sunday it had logged a mind-boggling 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) at Furnace Creek in Death Valley in California. If the preliminary reading is verified, then the Sunday high will be the hottest temperature recorded there in the month of August.
According to the Death Valley climate records, this is the first time the area has reached 130 Fahrenheit since 1913. The archive shows a world record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius) at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913.
Temperature records typically take a little time to verify. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said it will investigate the new Death Valley reading.
“This would be the hottest global temperature officially recorded since 1931,” the WMO tweeted on Monday.
The NWS is also working on verifying the reading. “As this is an extreme temperature event, the recorded temperature will need to undergo a formal review,” the NWS said in a statement on Sunday. The service will form a committee to look into the data, which was logged by an automated observation system run by the NWS.
The 1913 Furnace Creek temp is on the books as the hottest temperature ever recorded, but debate surrounds that milestone. “Some weather historians have questioned the accuracy of old temperature records,” the WMO has said.
Death Valley prides itself on being the “hottest, driest and lowest national park” in the US. That extreme heat can make it inhospitable to visitors. The park issued an alert warning hikers to not venture out past 10 a.m.
The scorching Death Valley temperature over the weekend comes in the middle of a serious heat wave across the western US. The NWS calculated that around 56 million people are under heat advisories or warnings and that the heat will continue through the middle of the week.
That means Death Valley and Furnace Creek will have more opportunities to aim for a new record high.