Death Valley could break its own record for Earth's hottest temp

Death Valley could break its own 1913 record for hottest temperature ever reported on Earth – 134 degrees Fahrenheit – this week as the Southwest is gripped by unrelenting heat wave

  • The Southwest heat wave could threaten the planet’s all-time record high temperature – 134 degrees Fahrenheit – set in 1913 in Death Valley, California 
  • The region has been dealing with 100-plus degree heat for more than a week, and those temperatures are expected to continue through the weekend
  • About 40 to 50 million people in the region are slogging through the heat wave
  • The extreme heat is straining power grids and creating optimal conditions for wild fires and already causing droughts

California’s Death Valley could soon break its own 1913 record for the hottest air temperature ever reported on Earth as an unrelenting heat wave grips the Southwest.  

From Wednesday to Saturday, Death Valley temperatures could come within 10 degrees or less of that all-time high of 134 degrees Fahrenheit, which was set during a five-day heat wave in July 1913, according to AccuWeather. 

The forecast predicts temperatures will reach highs in the mid-120s each day in Death Valley, which is a long, narrow basin nearly 300 feet below sea level. In comparison, the average high for mid-June is 110 degrees. 

It’s a hot area because its surface is barebone rock and soil, which radiates heat back but it never escapes. The hot air is walled in by steep mountain ranges, which traps heat in valley’s depths.  

The entire Southwest region has been dealing with 100-plus degree heat for more than a week, and those temperatures are expected to continue – and even rise in some areas – this weekend.  

Forecasters say this current heat wave won’t just be remembered for its intensity, but also for its duration, AccuWeather meteorologists said. 

It’s straining electrical grids and drying up water supplies and vegetation, which creates a combustible concoction for wild fires, and affecting 40 to 50 million people in the region.  

Temperatures have already shattered dozens of record highs across the region, including California, Arizona, Montana and Idaho, and more are expected to fall this weekend, according to AccuWeather. 

The Southwest heat wave is expected to continue with dangerous heat this week

The heat wave is shattering records across the Southwest and is expected to continue through the weekend

This is a list of projected record-breaking temperatures this week

Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California holds the record for highest air temperature ever recorded in Death Valley at 134°F on July 10, 1913. That will be challenged this week

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch that will be in effect from through Wednesday evening along the Los Angeles County Coast and excessive heat watch will be in effect through Friday night. 

The California power grid operator issued warnings and encouraged residents to conserve when possible.

 ‘Although no outages or other power disruptions are anticipated right now,’ the California Independent System Operator (ISO) said in a statement. ‘ISO could take a number of actions to reduce demand and access additional energy.’

The Texas’ power grid operator already urged residents in a Monday statement to reduce electric use as much as possible until Friday because there are a significant number of power plants offline. 

While states try to conserve the power usage, officials and first responders are considered about droughts and wildfires. 

More than 20 large wildfires are already burning in Arizona, California and other parts of the West, according to Axios. 

Approximately 89 percent of the western US is experiencing drought conditions, with more than half reported to be in ‘extreme’ and ‘exceptional’ drought, reported The Weather Channel, and this region is on track for its most severe drought in history.

In Las Vegas could pass its highest temperature on record, which is 117°F, prompting the National Weather Service forecast office in Las Vegas to issue a warning of significant threats to life and infrastructure from Monday through Saturday as the heat builds and refuses to relent. 

 Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in southern Nevada, is at a historic all-time low of just 34.7 percent.

And Lake Powell, along the Colorado River and in parts of Utah and Arizona, dried up some much that its riverbed can be seen from space, as it only has received 39.4 percent of its average water inflow since the start of the year. 

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