A blazing heatwave that’s been roasting the West Coast broke new records on Sunday, with the highest daily average temperature ever observed on the planet – 118.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
At first light in Death Valley, the low temperature was recorded at 107.7 F, the highest ever recorded in North America. Throughout the day, the mercury continued to rise, hitting 128.6 F by the late afternoon, according to The Washington Post.
The two dramatically high temperatures meant the day’s average temperature was the highest ever recorded on Earth.
California and Nevada are currently in the grip of a devastating heatwave that’s also broken the record for the hottest June ever recorded in the region. Friday’s high of 130F in Death Valley matches the temperature recorded in August 2020, considered to be the hottest reliable reading ever taken.
Most of the region has been issued excessive heat warnings by the National Weather Service, with more than 30 million people cautioned that the rocketing temperatures could be hazardous to health. Small children and the elderly are most at risk.
The NWS has advised those affected to stay in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible, drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, and check up on vulnerable people.
The sustained heatwave has also put pressure on power grids and intensified wildfires, including a Southern Oregon blaze that put 1,200 homes in danger.
Temperatures are expected to remain very high throughout the rest of the week, but drop a little from the peaks of the weekend as the heat dome causing the extremes weakens.
However, meteorologists using long-range modelling have warned that there is potential for another intense heat wave to build next week too.