Is Death Valley extraordinarily hot this year?

Dear Tom,

I know Death Valley is hot, but it seems extraordinarily hot this year. Is that true?

Harold Plucienik

Dear Harold,

Excessive heat has been plaguing much of central and southern California this summer. Death Valley, which boasts the world’s record high temperature of 134 degrees established on July 10, 1913, is always one of the nation’s summer hot spots and this year has been no exception. However, the record high temperature bar is set very high there and only two new record highs have been established so far this season- 116 degrees on May 9 and 126 degrees on June 21. Death Valley recorded its first triple-digit high of the year on April 7, though it just missed with a 99 on March 31. Temperatures have surpassed 100 daily since May 27 and have exceeded 110 since June 19. The area’s normal high records its annual peak of 117 degrees during the mid-July through early August period.