Written by Ria Singh, a grade 6 student
A place called Furnace Creek, which is a little village in Death Valley in California (a state in the US) has recorded the highest global temperature in more than 100 years!
According to the US National Weather Service, the temperature at Death Valley rose to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 54.4 Celsius. The last time it was this high in the same place was in July 1913 (56.7 °C), and this was the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded on Earth. Although now experts believe that there could have been an error in the reading back then.
There’s been a big heatwave on the west coast of the US – which is where Death Valley is. This has led to two days of blackouts in California, after a power plant broke down. A Meteorologist described it as “insanely hot” and said it was, “literally like being in an oven”.
What’s Death Valley?
Death Valley is a desert valley in Eastern California. It is home to a big national park, called Death Valley National Park.
The part was established in October, 1994, Death Valley National Park is a vast, spread out park that has nearly 1,000 miles of roads. Death Valley is the lowest point in North America. The landscape can be tricky – there is a thick layer of salt on the valley floor that sometimes can be mistaken for snow.
One of the most stunning features of Death Valley is Racetrack Playa – a dry lake which has, what are called, sailing stones. The strange thing is that there are hundreds of rocks here that move, and when they do, they leave trails on the ground. Some of the big rocks have traveled over 1,500 feet! For many years no one knew how they moved. Then in 2014 researchers discovered the secret – when the dry lake floods, the cold in the night freezes the water into a thin layer of ice. Then these break into large floating sheets and as night turns into day, the winds move the rocks forward across the slippery surface. This leaves trails in the soft mud.
The heatwave in the US stretches from the state of Arizona in the south-west all the way up to the coast to Washington State in the north-west. Weather experts say the heat will continue for at least another 10 days.