The next time you want to complain about the summer heat, just remember: at least you’re not in Death Valley, California. One of the hottest places in the world is getting even hotter, with average July temperatures in Death Valley National Park reaching 108.1 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service’s Las Vegas office. It’s important to keep in mind that 108.1 is the average temperature, not the peak. The highest temperature recorded in July was 127 degrees, which lasted for four consecutive days. Although the numbers still need to be examined more closely, it would appear that Death Valley has broken its own record for highest average temperatures over a single month. The previous record was 107.4, set in July 2017.
The crazy heat has serious consequences. Last month, a 57-year-old man died while hiking in Death Valley, and officials cite the sweltering heat as a likely cause. Dozens of animals have also been found dead this month, according to park officials, without any apparent signs of physical trauma.
Despite the harsh conditions, thousands of seemingly heat-proof tourists still flock to Death Valley during the record-breaking summer months. The park is “perfectly safe to visit,” according to the National Park Service, as long as travelers carry at least a gallon of water, and salty foods and sports drinks to regulate electrolyte levels. The NPS also advises travelers to stay on paved roads, and not venture too far from their vehicles. Or, to really play it really safe, visit Death Valley in autumn.