Death Valley Reaches Highest Temperature in 100 Years

    17 August 2020

    The National Weather Service's (NWS) measuring system recorded a temperature of 54.4 Celsius at Death Valley in eastern California on Sunday.

    The temperature was recorded at 3:41 p.m. local time at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. In a statement, the NWS said, "If verified, this will be the hottest temperature officially verified since July of 1913, also at Death Valley. As this is an extreme temperature event, the recorded temperature will need to undergo a formal review."

    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the record for the highest temperature was 56.7 Celsius set on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley. And the highest temperature for the Eastern hemisphere was set in July 1931 in Kebili, Tunisia, at 55.0°C. However, the WMO notes that weather historians have questioned the accuracy of these old temperature records.

    FILE - A view of the Death Valley National Park sign is seen in Death Valley, Calif., Feb. 14, 2017.
    FILE - A view of the Death Valley National Park sign is seen in Death Valley, Calif., Feb. 14, 2017.

    The organization said Monday on the social media service Twitter that it also will work to verify Sunday's measurement.

    The U.S. National Park Service says Death Valley is "famous as the hottest place on earth and driest place in North America." The desert area also includes Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 85.9 meters below sea level. During the summer, the heat is trapped by the high valley walls and heated even more by the air pressure at its low point.

    Visitors are warned to drink at least 4 liters of water each day and to carry additional water in their cars. They are also warned to stay close to their vehicles and watch themselves and others for dizziness, nausea and other signs of heat illness.

    I'm Jonathan Evans.

    Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English from reports by the National Weather Service, World Meteorological Organization and the National Park Service. Hai Do was the editor.


    Words in This Story

    verified – v. proved to be true or correct

    hemisphere – n. a half of the Earth

    accuracy – n. freedom from mistake or error

    dizziness – n. the feeling that you are turning around in circles and are going to fall even though you are standing still

    nausea – n. the feeling you have in your stomach when you think you are going to vomit