Posted by: JeffMasters, 2:37 PM GMT on April 24, 2012
An unprecedented April heat wave brought a second day of sizzling temperatures to the Western U.S. yesterday, where temperatures ranging 20 - 30 degrees above normal have toppled numerous all-time April heat records. Nearly every weather station in the Inter-mountain West has broken, tied, or come within 1 - 2 °F of their all-time record April heat record since Sunday. Most notably, the 113°F measured at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California on Sunday, April 22 was tied for the hottest April temperature ever recorded in the U.S. According to wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt, the hottest reliable April temperature ever measured in the U.S. was 113°F in Parker, Arizona in 1898. A 113°F reading was also taken at Catarina, Texas in April 1984, and at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley on April 24, 1946. A hotter 118°F reading measured at Volcano Springs, CA in April 1898 is considered unreliable, since we don't know much about the exposure conditions or if the thermometers were even in shelters at remote California desert stations back in the 1880s and 1890s. The previous hottest April day in Death Valley was 111°F. Yesterday, the high temperature in Death Valley "cooled off" to 110°F, merely the fourth highest April temperature ever measured there. The heat wave peaked Sunday and Monday, and temperatures will be closer to normal for the remainder of the week.