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Hottest day on Earth at Death Valley? 135 degrees, but it’s unofficial

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


OK, so the official temperature of 129 degrees Sunday at Death Valley’s Furnace Creek weather station set a new U.S. record for the month of June. But weatherman Kevin Martin, who blogs about the weather here, went to the national park over the weekend in pursuit of history and measured 135.5 degrees at Badwater Basin, the foreboding lowest point in North America (282 feet below sea level). Rangers acknowledge it’s usually several degrees hotter there than the “official” weather station at Furnace Creek.

Martin describes to Redlands-LomaLinda Patch holding the recorder inside his Honda, with a sensor outside about 100 feet away and 6 to 7 feet off the ground and shaded by a piece of cardboard 2 feet by 2 feet to make sure it wasn’t affected by direct sunlight. An excerpt:

"There were people walking out a quarter-mile out on the basin and they were just insane," Martin said. "I walked about 300 feet out there, but I couldn't  take it more than five minutes. I started feeling very faint. It felt like I was cooking from the inside out."

By the way, there’s been talk of moving the weather station to Badwater Basin, but the park service has nixed the idea. It’s 35 miles one-way from a ranger station and considered not worth the risk to human safety. Otherwise, who knows, that hottest temperature on Earth at Death Valley (at Furnace Creek, in what was then called Greenland Ranch) back in 1913—134 degrees—might have already fallen.

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