From the ABC 7 Weather team

Washington is Warm while the West Coast is Demolishing Heat Records

July 2, 2013 - 02:49 PM
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You think the Washington D.C. area has been hot? Think again, record breaking temperatures on the West Coast. Is120 degrees hot enough?


Death Valley. Sounds like a charming little area doesn’t it? How about the fact that it is measured as consistently one of the hottest places on Earth?


Temperatures normally reach or exceed 100 degrees F from mid-May to early October. On July 1st, 2013, a freelance meteorologist and his thermometer measured the temperature in Death Valley at a whopping 135 degrees F. However, due to this measurement being an unofficial thermometer and not associated with the Las Vegas National Weather Service, the record would not be recognized. Therefore, the temperature that was recorded does not break the old temperature of 134 degrees that was set on July 10th, 1913 in Greenland Ranch an area of Death Valley. In fact, that temperature was the highest reliable recorded air temperature with a properly sighted and maintained thermometer on Earth! There is even a celebration this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the world record high temperature.




This global high temperature record from 1913 has always been controversial. In El Azizia, Libya (on what was at that time an Italian army base off the Libyan coast) September 13th, 1922, a temperature of 136 degrees F was recorded! The World Meteorological Organization eventually certified this as the hottest global air temperature ever recorded. But of course, there was evidence after an investigation that suggested the reading was invalid. Most likely because of misinterpretation of the reading on the thermometer (where is Adam Caskey when you need him?).

(This is a drawing of the Six-Bellini thermometer, the antiquated type used to make the observation of the disputed world's hottest temperature in El Azizia, Libya)




Also, there were several inconsistencies measurements taken at the same site and nearby weather stations at this time. The reading in Libya was also taken over asphalt which would of course be hotter than its desert surroundings. On September 12, 2012 (100 years after the initial controversy) the World Meteorological Organization officially re-certified the 134 degree reading on July 10th, 1913 at Death Valley as the all-time higher air temperatures recorded globally.






The west coast is in the middle of a heat wave, a very dangerous heat wave where temperatures continue to top out in the triple digits with overnight lows barely bottoming out in the 80s.




A ridge of strong high pressure in the upper levels of the atmosphere set up shop on June 27th over northern New Mexico and since then has meandered back and forth from Utah, to Nevada and California continuing to pump life-threating heat into portions of western United States. This high pressure looks to hang tough over the west before it finally begins to break down towards the end of this week. However, until then – areas in the western US will continue to be under excessive heat warnings. So if you want to find the extreme heat – you know where to go!

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