Death Valley Sets Record for World’s Hottest Month

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Heat waves rise near a heat danger warning sign on on July 14, 2013 in the Death Valley National Park. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Heat waves rise near a heat danger warning sign on on July 14, 2013 in the Death Valley National Park. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

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Think it’s hot where you are? It’s probably nowhere near the new tentative world’s record for hottest month anywhere on Earth, held by Death Valley National Park.

The monthly average was a scorching 108.1 degrees Fahrenheit, the National Park Service said.

That’s the monthly average. The daily high was 127 degrees Fahrenheit four days in a row in July, the park service said. And sunset didn’t bring much relief. Temperatures failed to drop below 100 for 10 nights in the month — with the lows not coming until usually around 5 a.m., just before sunrise.

The previous record was set last July with 107.4, also in Death Valley, said Andy Gorelow of the National Weather Service’s Las Vegas office.

To reach the average heat measurement, meteorologists first average each day’s temperature from its high and low, and then average each day’s average, said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist who conducts research for the University of Alaska Fairbanks at the International Arctic Research Center. He kept an eye on Death Valley’s readouts after last year’s chart-topping July.

He said the numbers are preliminary and need to be verified before being scorched into the record books.

It’s possible other “nonpopulated or nonmeasured areas” on Earth have reached higher temperatures, Brettschneider said.

“But is it a record if there’s no one there to measure it?”

In Death Valley, the park service said heat contributed to the death of a hiker in mid-July. And two French tourists had to be rescued after hitting a rocky combination of cliffs, heat and dehydration.

Even wildlife isn’t immune to the unrelenting swelter.

“We have found about a dozen dead animals that have no obvious signs of trauma,” said Josh Hoines, the park’s chief of natural and cultural resources management. “We suspect that these animals are casualties of this record period of heat.”

Rangers advise visitors to stay in the park’s well-traveled areas, in case their vehicle breaks down. Cell phones don’t work in much of the park.

Visitors are also urged to drink plenty of water and limit activities outside air-conditioning.

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