A mere week before the calendar flips to November, temperatures in cities and towns across Southern California surged to unthinkable levels — on the verge of 110 degrees.
Not one but two locations hit 108 on Tuesday — matching the hottest weather observed on record in the United States so late in the calendar year.
According to the National Weather Service, both Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (formerly known as Miramar Naval Air Station, about 15 miles northeast of San Diego) and San Luis Obispo topped out at 108 degrees.
Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist based in Alaska, tweeted that the 108-degree reading tied the previous hottest temperature set so late — at Indio Fire Station, Calif., on the same date in 1959.
This weather record was overshadowed by searing heat in Los Angeles, where the hottest postseason game in Major League Baseball history was played Tuesday evening. The first-pitch temperature for Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium was a blistering 103 degrees.
Earlier in the afternoon, the mercury had peaked at 104 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, shattering the record of 99 degrees set in 1909. It joined many other locations in Southern California that obliterated long-standing records for the date, including:
- Vista, which hit 107, breaking the record of 96 set in 1965.
- Long Beach Airport, which hit 105, breaking the record of 98 set in 1965.
- Los Angeles International Airport, which hit 104, breaking the record of 96 set in 1965.
- Santa Ana, which hit 104, breaking the record of 98 in 1965.
- San Diego, which hit 97, breaking the record of 94 from 1965.
- Newport Beach, which hit 92, breaking the record of 85 from 1965.
These temperatures were about 20 to 30 degrees above normal.
Tuesday’s “Southern California heat didn’t just break all the records, it utterly crushed them,” tweeted environmental activist Bill McKibben. “With a record this long, this is statistically unnerving.”
Downtown Los Angeles is predicted to hit triple digits for a third straight day Wednesday, challenging yet another daily record, before the heat eases.
The historic heat in Southern California, the most extreme witnessed in the United States so late in the calendar year, joins many other remarkable hot-weather milestones set around the country and the world:
- On Sept. 1, San Francisco hit 106 degrees, smashing its all-time hottest temperature.
- In July, Death Valley, Calif., endured the hottest month recorded on Earth.
- In late July, Shanghai registered its highest temperature in recorded history, 105.6 degrees (40.9 Celsius).
- In mid-July, Spain posted its highest temperature recorded when Córdoba Airport (in the south) hit 116.4 degrees (46.9 Celsius).
- In late June, Ahvaz, Iran, soared to 128.7 degrees Fahrenheit (53.7 Celsius) — that country’s all-time hottest temperature.
- In late May, the western town of Turbat in Pakistan hit 128.3 degrees (53.5 Celsius), tying the all-time highest temperature in that country and the world-record temperature for May, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters.
It is not a stretch to say that, collectively, these are in-your-face examples of how climate change is shaping the weather.
As greenhouse gases from human activities accumulate in the atmosphere, it boosts the likelihood of more hot weather and more record hot weather, which is exactly what is happening all over the planet.
2017, so far, ranks as the second-warmest year on record globally. The United States has observed more records for high temperatures than lows for an unprecedented 34 straight months, according to Guy Walton — a meteorologist formerly with the Weather Channel.
In other words, expect to see more heat extremes piling up in the months and years ahead.