DEATH VALLEY, Calif. (KTNV) — About two hours northwest of Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park says it had its hottest June on record this year, with an average day/night temperature of 102.9° Fahrenheit.
The normal average June temperature is 95°, the park says, for records extending back to 1912.
Every June for the past decade has exceeded this average.
The heatwave that affected much of the western U.S. in mid-June peaked at 128° in Death Valley on June 17, which broke the daily record by six degrees.
Seven days in the month set new daily records for high temperatures.
Nights brought little relief from the heat. On June 29, the lowest temperature was 104°F around 3 a.m.
WHY IS DEATH VALLEY SO HOT?
Death Valley’s dramatic landscape ranges from 282 feet below sea level to 11,049 feet above. This landscape causes Death Valley to be hotter than surrounding areas.
Clear, dry air and minimal plant coverage mean there’s little to block the sun from heating up the ground. Heat radiates from the ground back into the air. Hot air rises, but is trapped by the steep mountains, and recirculates to the valley floor, part of which is 282 feet below sea level. Then the heating continues.
The park’s extreme heat attracts people seeking to experience a temperature hotter than they ever have before.
HOW TO STAY SAFE
Park rangers say it is possible to visit Death Valley safely in the summer.
Limit heat exposure by not walking more than five minutes from an air-conditioned vehicle.
Travel on paved roads where your vehicle will be found in case of a break-down.
There is no cell phone service in most of the park. Rescues are not always possible because park rangers cannot safely work for extended periods in the heat and helicopters cannot get sufficient lift at high temperatures.
Information provided by Death Valley National Park. Learn more on nps.gov.
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