It’s hot in Los Angeles, but you knew that. In Death Valley yesterday, it was even hotter — possibly the hottest recorded temperature on Earth in nearly a century.
According to the National Weather Service, it was 130 degrees Fahrenheit at the Furnace Creek Visitors Center Sunday at 3:41 p.m. This temperature hasn’t been officially verified yet, according to a statement from the weather service, because “this is an extreme temperature event, the recorded temperature will need to undergo a formal review.” The World Meteorological Organization has offered to help verify the temperature, stating that if it proves accurate, it would be the hottest recorded global temperature since 1931.
Death Valley hit a recorded temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913, but that reading may not have been accurate, according to NPR. Meteorologist Christopher Burt told NPR that he and a colleague believe the hottest temperature ever accurately recorded was 129.9 degrees, which happened in Death Valley on June 30, 2013, and again in Mitribah, Kuwait on July 21, 2016.
If you plan to visit Death Valley soon, why? According to the National Park Service, the area is dangerous due to extreme temperatures of 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit. They advise you to stay hydrated, carry extra water, avoid hiking after 10 a.m. and “travel prepared to survive.” That’s pretty apocalyptic, so maybe just stay put. Right now, the weather service is reporting a temperature of 114 degrees Fahrenheit at the Furnace Creek Visitors Center.
In case you were wondering, Death Valley didn’t get its name from being hot. In the winter of 1849, the San Joaquin Company wagon train decided to take a route west from Salt Lake City called the Old Spanish Trail. Though no wagon train had ever gone that way before, they were attempting to avoid the fate of the Donner Party, who had become trapped while trying to pass the Sierra Nevada and infamously resorted to cannibalism to survive. Of course, once the pioneers found themselves lost in Death Valley and staring down the Panamint Range, they figured their fate was similarly sealed. Groups of travelers split off on different paths, but two families waited there for nearly a month until they were rescued by a pair of scouts. As they left, one man reportedly bid the area farewell by saying, “Goodbye, Death Valley.” And that, as they say, is history.