Death Valley hits 130 degrees, thought to be highest temperature on Earth in nearly a century

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The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park. The temperature recorded Sunday could be among the top three highest temperatures ever measured in Death Valley. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Temperatures in Death Valley skyrocketed to a blistering 130 degrees on Sunday — possibly the highest mercury reading on Earth in almost 90 years.

The National Weather Service recording, which is awaiting confirmation, is among the top three highest temperatures ever measured in Death Valley, as well as the highest temperature seen there during the month of August, according to park and weather service data.

The temperature in Death Valley hit 130 degrees at 3:41 p.m. Sunday, the National Weather Service said in a tweet.

Death Valley holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded on the planet: 134 degrees in 1913, according to Guinness World Records. That reading has been disputed, however.

In 1931, the mercury hit 131 degrees in Kebili, Tunisia, according to the World Meteorological Organization, but that reading also is disputed.

Since then, a 129-degree reading was recorded in Death Valley in 2013.

Sunday's reading comes amid an epic heat wave that continues to grip most of the southwestern U.S.

Multiple daily heat records were set Saturday. The National Weather Service reported a high of 112 in Woodland Hills, breaking the record of 108 set in 1977, and a high of 92 at UCLA, breaking the record of 90 set in 2003. Downtown Los Angeles hit 98 degrees, tying a record set in 1994.

For the record:
10:08 AM, Aug. 17, 2020: An earlier version of this article stated Sunday’s preliminary temperature in Death Valley was possibly the highest mercury reading on Earth since 1913, when Death Valley recorded a high of 134 degrees. A temperature of 131 degrees was recorded in Tunisia in 1931. Both readings have been disputed.