July Heat Wave Could Set National Record

Dozens of new all-time high records have been set in recent weeks across the United States, and weather officials said today the month could become the warmest since official record-keeping began in 1895.

Data won't be tallied for another day or two, according to a statement from NOAA today.

Among the local records were more than 70 new highs for the month of July. In the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, records that had stood since the Dust Bowl years of the mid-1930s fell.

Some of the most extreme heat was in California, where more than 100 deaths have been attributed to the sweltering summer:

  • Woodland Hills, near Los Angeles, reported a new record of 21 days with maximum temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The old record was 15 days. The city also set an all-time record high of 119 on July 22.
  • On July 23, the Redding Airport north of Sacramento reported a new record for the date of 114 degrees. The old record was 109, set in 2003.
  • On July 23, the minimum temperature in Sacramento was 84 degrees, which exceeded the previous record of 79, set just the day before.

Separately, a study released today said extreme heat waves could grow worse as the planet warms, fueling increased use of air conditioners that would pump more planet-warming greenhouse gases into the air.

For the rest of August, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center predicts above-normal temperatures for California and most of the Southern, Central and Southeastern parts of the country, especially over the northern Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley.