Death Valley eclipses 120 F as Southwest sizzles

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Death Valley eclipses 120 F as Southwest sizzles

By Mary Gilbert, AccuWeather meteorologist

Published Jun. 10, 2022 10:08 AM MST | Updated Jun. 11, 2022 6:58 AM MST


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Man uses extreme heat to grill steaks, burgers, even a cake in 200-degree F car

A TikToker from Phoenix, Arizona, has been using the blistering Arizona heat to cook burgers, steaks, a pizza and even a cake inside his 200-degree-Fahrenheit car.

Temperatures have been on the rise for much of the southwestern United States this week, leaving residents to swelter while daily record highs are placed in jeopardy, particularly in California’s Death Valley, where temperatures climbed above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. AccuWeather forecasters say the sizzling heat will continue for much of the weekend, but much-needed relief is on the horizon.

A northward bulge in the jet stream unfolded over the Southwestern states this week, allowing air more typical of the middle of summer to spread over the region. This push of unseasonably hot air sent thermometers across the Southwest to impressive levels as some cities recorded the highest temperatures of the year so far.

On Wednesday, Phoenix recorded its first 110-F reading of the year as the Valley of the Sun baked in the midst of July-like heat. The city typically first hits this milestone around June 13.

Las Vegas also recorded its highest temperature of the year so far for the second consecutive day when the mercury soared to 109 F on Friday, also breaking the daily record of 108 degrees set in 1996. The city had previously seen the highest temperature of the year on Thursday when the mercury rose to 108 degrees. In early June, high temperatures in Sin City usually reach into the upper 90s, meaning the two days’ readings were an impressive 10 degrees above average.

While many residents across the Southwest are accustomed to scorching heat, temperature departures of this magnitude are significant and can lead to health issues.

“It’s important to keep in mind that average highs in the Desert Southwest are already in the upper 90s to middle 100s at this point in the year,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Reneé Duff said. “This wave of heat will continue to push temperatures into the upper 100s and 110s, levels that can be dangerous for even those who are accustomed to extreme heat.”

The worst of the unseasonable heat will continue through Saturday before the heat slowly begins to ease on Sunday. Large portions of California, Arizona and southern Nevada will remain under excessive heat warnings through at least Saturday evening.


While heat will begin to ease for much of the area by late this weekend, some cities can continue to challenge daily record-high temperatures.

Excessive heat in Phoenix will continue through the weekend as the city will challenge record-high temperatures through Sunday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.

With the persistent heat to start the month, Phoenix is already running nearly 3 F above normal for the month of June thus far, Pydynowski noted.

Heat will crank up even higher for portions of the California deserts through the end of the week. Death Valley, California, widely known as one of the hottest spots on the planet, will soar to around 122 degrees F on Saturday, which would break the daily record high of 121, according to the National Park Service. On Friday, the mercury soared to a sizzling 123 F, which shattered the daily record high of 120 set in 1994.

The all-time record high in Death Valley is 134 F, a mark that has stood since July 10, 1913, and the weather station there holds the official record for the hottest place on Earth. Typically, Death Valley averages high temperatures of 110 at this time of year and doesn’t reach its peak average high temp of 118 until mid-July, underscoring the unusual nature of a temperature in the low 120s this early in June.

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