National daily high and low temperatures fairly in California. Why?
I have noticed that on occasion the national daily high and low temperatures on your weather map are at locations fairly close together, especially in California. Why?
Dorothy Chung, Chicago
It’s a matter of elevation differences between the locations in question. Air temperatures usually drop about five degrees for every thousand feet of elevation increase (but only three degrees if it’s foggy). This country’s western states (especially California) have adjacent high and low elevations that are relatively near each other.
California locations with weather observation stations that meet these criteria are Death Valley (elevation 282 feet below sea level) and Bodie State Park (elevation 8,379 feet). Despite being only 163 miles apart, they are separated by 8,661 feet vertically. They will occasionally record the nation’s daily highest and lowest temperatures.