Death Valley in Southern California is the hottest place on earth. At 3:41 p.m. on Sunday,it is mention in the popular imagination it lived up to that reputation when the high temperature at the aptly named Furnace Creek reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the NOAA Weather Prediction Center.
If that reading — the equivalent of 54 degrees Celsius — is verified by climate scientists, a process that could take months, it would be the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on earth.
Death Valley is no stranger to heat. Sitting 282 feet below sea level in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California near the Nevada border, it is the lowest, driest and hottest location in the United States. It is sparsely populated, with just 576 residents, according to the most recent census.
Brandi Stewart, the spokeswoman for Death Valley National Park, said that the valley is so hot because of the configuration of its lower-than-sea-level basin and surrounding mountains. The superheated air gets trapped in a pocket and just circulates. “It’s like stepping into a convection oven every day in July and August.