Living up to its name! Death Valley records temperature of 128F – the hottest reading on the planet in three years – and 50 million Americans are placed under heat warning

  • Weather station in Death Valley, California recorded an official high temperature of 128F on Sunday afternoon
  • Photo posted by the Park Service showed their thermometer to be at 129F
  • The last time the area reached such a high temperature was in 2017 
  • A ‘heat dome’ across the southwest is seeing heat trapped in dry conditions 
  • The heat wave is expected to move north and eastwards in the coming days 
  • It led to new daily records being set in Phoenix, Tucson and Palm Springs
  • Triple-digit heat is forecast for Washington, Chicago and St. Louis this weekend

Death Valley, California in the Mojave Desert reached a sizzling 128 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday in what is the highest recorded temperature anywhere on Earth since 2017.

Although the official weather station in the area recorded 128F, a photo taken at the aptly named Furnace Creek Visitor Center read 129F. 

Sunday’s scorching high is part of a heatwave that is currently hovering over the Southwest of the country, but the ‘heat dome’ is expected to expand east and northwards later in the week.

The place still holds the record for hottest air temperature ever recorded which was 134F set in July 1913. 

A photo posted by the Park Service in Death Valley showed their thermometer to be at 129F

The scorching temperature was recorded at the aptly named Furnace Creek in Death Valley

The extreme heat has been cause in part because of a ‘heat dome’ which keeps hot air trapped

A ‘heat dome’ across the southwest is seeing heat trapped in the already dry conditions

Death Valley still holds the record for hottest air temperature ever recorded which was 134F set in July 1913. Pictured, the landscape of the Death Valley National Park

A number of daily records in other places were broken on Sunday including an all-time high 116F at Borger, Texas, near Amarillo.    

Daily records were set in Palm Springs, California at 121F, 116F in Phoenix, 113F in Tucson, Arizona, 110F in Roswell, New Mexico and 109F in Del Rio, Texas.

Even more northerly states including Wyoming and Utah also had towns that hit triple-digit highs above 100F. 

The lowest the temperature Phoenix experienced was a sweltering 93F. 

The record-breaking heat is being caused by a ‘heat dome’ centered across the southwest. 

It is likely that the heat dome may now move in a more northeasterly direction over the week

Triple digit temperatures are forecast for Chicago, Washington D.C and St. Louis this weekend

The temperature in Death Valley caught the attention of weather watchers on Twitter

The triple-digit heat stretches across south from California to the Florida Panhandle

50 million Americans across the southern United States are under Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories according to CBS News. 

The area stretches 1,700 miles from Southern California’s deserts across to Panama City on the Florida Panhandle. 

Over 19 million Americans are under excessive heat warnings in the Southwest alone, along with parts of Texas and Louisiana. 

It means that temperatures of more than 120F in California and Arizona deserts and 110F in western parts of Texas over the coming weeks will not be uncommon. 

Even along the coast in Louisiana, high temperatures coupled with humidity could see temperatures close to 115F.  

Phoenix is experiencing recording breaking heat at night with temperatures in the low 90s

New Orleans has also been experiencing uncomfortable temperatures, even at 1am

The heat dome sees sunny skies and dry air sinking through the atmosphere. As it does so, it warms up and produces more heat. 

Over the next few days, the heat dome may start to weaken but also begin to move northwards firstly into the Mississippi Valley then into the Ohio Valley and Mid Atlantic states. 

The eastern half of the country is likely to experience highs in the 90s, approaching the 100s for the cities of St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis and Washington D.C. 

Although such heat waves are common in the summer, climatologists expect them to become even more frequent as climate change occurs.

As global temperature averages increase, so too do heat extremes. 

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