US heat wave: What are the hottest temperatures ever recorded in each state?
Every state in the United States has seen temperatures over 100 degrees at one point, but there is a place that holds the world record for the hottest.
When the mercury climbs in the summer months typically you’ll find the highest temperatures in the American Southwest. Nevertheless, every state at one time has seen a thermometer somewhere register at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, several well in excess.
Typically, record temperatures are set between July and August, but some heatwaves have produced historic readings above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in June and September. With climate change increasing extremes, the high temperatures are expected to last longer, more records are sure to be set.
The highest temperature ever recorded was in the US
The world’s official record hottest temperature ever is currently 134 degrees Fahrenheit taken in Death Valley on 10 July 1913. Prior to 2013 the record was held by Al Azizia, Libya, with a reading of 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit in 1923. However, the World Meteorological Organization decertified that record after a committee was assembled and investigated the matter.
One of the members of the team, Christopher Burt, said the 1913 Death Valley record should be decertified too. “The old Death Valley record from July 1913 is 100% bogus (not just 99.9% such),” he said. However, the record for the hottest ever measured temperature would still reside at the nearly inhospitable stretch of land in California. Seven out of Earth’s top-ten list of hottest reliably measured temperatures were taken at Furnace Creek in Death Valley.
Temperatures are rising globally but most records set in the 1930s
The past nine years have been among the ten hottest years on record according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s 2021 Annual Global Climate Update. However, that doesn’t mean that those higher temperatures are spread out evenly around the globe. Heatwaves are influenced by a number of factors and aren’t completely understood.
Many of the record highs set in the United States date back to the 1930s when the Plains were scorched under extreme temperatures and an extended drought. Combined with deterioration of the soil from extensive and destructive farming, the plants withered and the area turned into what would become known as the Dust Bowl.
However, changing climate produced usual extreme heat events in 2021, roasting the Northwest. Temperatures in Oregon and Washington were at or near 120 degrees. The next ten years are likely to be even warmer than the previous ones according to NOAA.
Here’s a look at the record temperatures in each state according to NOAA’s State Climate Extremes Committee.
|Maryland||109°F||1936, 1918, 1898|
|South Dakota||120°F||2006, 1936|
|West Virginia||112°F||1936, 1930|