Forecast of 129-degree heat in Death Valley becomes a tourist attraction

A stagnant upper-level ridge over the Southwest and Mexico is helping to produce historic heat. Las Vegas could break its all-time record high on Sunday with a temperature of 118 degrees. Death Valley, California, is expected to reach 129 degrees. This reading would be just 5 degrees below the record of 134 degrees set in 1913.

FURNACE CREEK, Calif. – The chance of seeing all-time record heat is not stopping tourists from visiting one of the hottest plays on Earth – Death Valley National Park.

Park staff told FOX Weather that the site is surprisingly busy during the summer, with around 110,000 people that visit the desert location every July.

A thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center is considered to be one of the park’s most popular attractions, where tourists stop to snap a photo next to their famous thermometer.

Even though temperatures might look impressive on the reading display and beat the all-time record of 134 degrees set in 1913, it is not an official weather station. 

"The sensor gets some radiant heat from the thermometer frame, so it consistently reads a few degrees warmer than the official, sheltered weather station. Just because this thermometer shows 130 °F doesn’t mean the actual temperature is that high," a park ranger stated.


Rangers are not discouraging people from visiting the park during the potential-record-breaking heat but are advising everyone to come prepared.

Both cell and GPS service can be unreliable in the only 3-million-acre park, so staff advises everyone to only travel on paved roads in case of a vehicle breakdown or an emergency.

Other advice includes drinking plenty of water, avoiding hikes in the lower elevations and staying near the air-conditioned visitor center.

The park has warning signs in place along trails, which state excursions after 10 a.m. are not recommended.

The FOX Forecast Center expects Death Valley to reach 129 degrees on Sunday and fall just 5 degrees short of the world record.

Extreme heat can cause a body’s internal temperature to rapidly rise and struggle to cool itself down.

The effects can be deadly, and the park has already reported at least one fatality this year that was tied to the heat.

The National Park Service said in early July, a 65-year-old man died in his car when the high temperature reached around 126 degrees.



Death Valley isn’t the only place feeling the heat

The FOX Forecast Center is anticipating many communities in the Southwest could near or even break all-time record high temperatures.

More than 90 million Americans were under heat alerts entering the weekend as much of the southern tier of the country was under a stagnant ridge of high pressure.

Las Vegas was expected to reach 118 degrees on Sunday, beating the old record of 117 degrees set just a month ago.

And in Phoenix, the city reported two consecutive weeks of temperatures reaching at least 110 degrees or hotter.

The current record is 18 consecutive days, which could be in jeopardy, with many of the upcoming days expected to reach well about 110 degrees.