As temperatures soared to 128 degrees, Death Valley smashed heat records in June

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The hottest place on Earth had its warmest June on record this year.

Death Valley National Park recorded an average temperature of 102.9 degrees in June, according to the National Park Service. That’s nearly 8 degrees hotter than what’s typical.

On June 17, it reached an even hotter peak.

“The heat wave that affected much of the West in mid-June peaked at 128 degrees in Death Valley on June 17, which broke the daily record by 6 degrees,” the National Park Service said Friday in a news release. “Seven days in the month set new daily records for high temperatures.”

Even the lowest temperature at the park that month was still above 100 degrees. At 3 a.m. on June 29, the temperature dropped to 104 degrees.

Last summer was also a hot one for Death Valley, McClatchy News reported. From June through August in 2020 — the meteorological summer — Death Valley had an average temperature of 102.7, according to the National Park Service.

It was the fourth hottest summer on record, following 2019, 2017 and 2016.

The park, which sits on the California-Nevada border, usually averages 18 days that hit 120 degrees or more, officials said.

“Death Valley’s dramatic landscape ranges from 282 feet below sea level to 11,049 feet above,” the National Park Service said. “Clear, dry air, and minimal plant coverage means there’s little to block the sun from heating up the ground. Heat radiates from the ground back into the air.”

Hot air in the park rises and gets trapped by the surrounding mountains. Then it recirculates to the valley floor and the heating cycle continues, park officials said.

“The park’s extreme heat attracts people seeking to experience a temperature hotter than they ever have before,” park officials said. “Park rangers say it is possible to visit Death Valley safely in the summer. Limit heat exposure by not walking more than 5 minutes from an air-conditioned vehicle.”

Death Valley isn’t the only place experiencing record-breaking heat recently.

Many parts of the West have shattered heat records, and temperatures have soared above 100 degrees for days on end.

In Portland, temperatures reached 112 degrees Sunday, breaking the record-high of 108 degrees that was set the day before and the region’s all-time high since 1940, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures in Seattle also reached an all-time high of 104 degrees, the first time temperatures were above 100 degrees for two consecutive days in the region.

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