Death Valley hit 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.3C) on Sunday — a searing high even for a country blazing under a prolonged triple-digit temperature wave from coast to coast.
The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134F (56.7C) in July 1913 at Furnace Creek inside the park, Randy Ceverny of the World Meteorological Organization told AP, the body recognized as the guardian world records.
Temperatures at or above 130 F (54.4 C) have only been recorded on Earth a handful of times, mostly in Death Valley National Park, which runs along the California-Nevada border . The digital display at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center gave an unofficial reading of 130F (54.4C) on Sunday.
In the United States, other regions were reaching less significant, but still dangerous, extremes. Temperatures were in the 110Fs in Phoenix, Arizona, where they have remained for the past three weeks. Las Vegas, Nevada and California’s Central Valley faced similar extremes.
More than 100 million people were under heat alert across the United States on Monday as forecasters warned the severe heat wave will continue across the Southwest through at least the weekend after breaking record after record this month.
All time heat records could be approached or reached in the San Joaquin Valley, Mojave Desert, and Great Basin regions. Phoenix will likely record its hottest week on record, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported.
As of Monday, dangerous heat was also developing in the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast with heat index readings of 110F through Friday.
Public authorities have warned people in these areas to limit their time outdoors due to the life-threatening consequences of such high temperatures. Extreme heat is the deadliest climate consequence, killing more Americans than all other disasters combined.
Residents were told to turn on the air conditioning, stay hydrated and not leave children or pets locked in cars. Public health officials have also told residents to be alert for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, as the risk of heat-related illness and death increases when temperatures rise above 90F.
The intensification of the heat wave in the southern United States was reflected around the world as millions of people in Europe, Asia and Africa had to cope with extreme and record temperatures caused by a climate crisis caused by fossil fuels.
July was uncharted territory globally, climate scientists said.
“This is just the beginning. This is what the climate system can do with a warming of just 1.2°C. Current policies globally have us reaching a warming of 2.7°C d ‘here 2100. It’s truly terrifying,’ Professor Simon Lewis, chair of global change science, University College London, said in an email.
“As scientists agreed last year: there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to ensure a livable and sustainable future for all. Deep, rapid and sustained reductions in carbon emissions to net zero can stop warming, but humanity will have to adapt to even more severe heat waves in the future.
China recorded its highest ever temperature on Sunday with the remote township of Sanbao in Xinjiang reaching 52.2C, nearly two degrees above the previous record.
Italy has issued red alerts for 16 cities due to hot conditions, with Spain, Italy and Greece reporting similar extremes. Meteorologists have warned that the deadly heat wave sweeping across Europe is likely to last into August.
Extreme heat and aridity caused huge forest fires which forced the evacuation of holiday villages in Greece on Monday and saw more than 4,000 people evacuated from La Palma in the Canary Islands.
It wasn’t just the extreme heat – flash and extreme flooding hit again this weekend across the United States and beyond.
Five people have been killed, and a baby and a toddler are still missing, after cars were swept away by torrents of water on a Pennsylvania highway.
In Vermont, authorities feared landslides as the rain continued after days of extreme flooding. In Mississippi, a flash flood warning was issued Monday in Clarke County after a dam broke on Archusa Creek.
In South Korea, nine bodies have been pulled from a flooded tunnel where around 15 vehicles were trapped in muddy water on Saturday as days of heavy rain triggered flash floods and landslides and destroyed homes across the country, officials said.
A total of 37 people have died and thousands have been evacuated since July 9, when heavy rains began to hit the country.
Conditions this summer are amplified by the still emerging El Nino climate pattern, with more severe impacts expected throughout this year and into 2024. The first week of July was the hottest on record on the planet – an alarming milestone that climate scientists have warned will likely soon be reversed.