Death Valley hit hottest U.S. June temperature ever recorded Sunday: 129

On Sunday, the National Weather Service reported Death Valley had surged to 128 degrees. But, in an update this morning, it reports the mercury touched 129 degrees at its peak, a new monthly record and a tie for the hottest June temperature ever recorded in the U.S. (assuming it is validated).

Confusion arose Sunday about what whether Death Valley had reached 128 or 129. The 128-degree reading reported Sunday was the preliminary high as of 4 p.m. mountain time, said Chris Stachelski, a forecaster at the National Weather Service.  But, the National Park Service, which is responsible for measurements using a mercury thermometer, said the high reached 129 in its final report just issued, and provided photographic evidence (below).

(National Weather Service) The 129 degree reading reached in Death Valley Sunday (National Weather Service via National Park Service)

Death Valley now shares the record for hottest U.S. June temperature ever recorded with Volcano, Cali, which shot up to 129 on June 23, 1902.

The 129-degree temperature was still five degrees shy of Death Valley’s all-time record high of 134.  This 134-degree reading, the hottest measured anywhere in the world – was established July 10, 1913.

The National Weather Service is holding a 100-year anniversary celebration of the world record temperature this month.

(Clarification. 3 p.m.: The original version of this blog post stated the National Park Service and National Weather Service take separate temperature readings.  In a conversation with NWS’ Stachelski, he clarified the National Park Service provides the only official temperature reading for Death Valley.  He said there are several other unofficial thermometers and temperature sensors in the Death Valley area, which recorded highs ranging from 128 to 130.)

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · July 1, 2013