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Simply Sizzlin': Death Valley Hits 128° as Badwater Ultramarathon Draws Near

Think it's been hot in your neighborhood? Take a look at what's been cooking at Death Valley National Park the past few days.

126Yesterday's high temperature (July 11) at the park's Furnace Creek Visitor Center: 128°F (53°C), the highest temperature recorded in the U.S. in this, the sweltering summer of 2012. That's a day after the mercury hit 126°, on July 10, at the visitor center, which is 190 feet below sea level.

Other fun facts about heat to know and tell:

• On July 10, 1913, Death Valley posted the hottest temperature ever recorded in the United States, 134°F (57°C). (The planet's modern-day high: 136°F, recorded in Libya in 1922).

• The low temperature at Furnace Creek last night was 107°F (42°C). The hottest low (overnight) temperature recorded at the park is 110°, reached on July 5, 1918 and June 22, 1922. Thanks to Terry Baldino, Death Valley's Chief of Interpretation and Education, for that scorching-hot factoid.

DVCooler (ha) days are ahead for Furnace Creek, with temperatures not expected to rise higher than 121° today, and mere double-digits tonight (98°).

Imagine this: the 35th Badwater Ultramarathon—a 135-mile race from Death Valley's (and North America's) low point, Badwater (282 feet below sea level) to Whitney Portal (8,360 feet) near Lone Pine on the eastern edge of the Sierra—will take place Monday, no matter what the conditions, according to a report in today's Los Angeles Times. Monday's forecast high at Furnace Creek, about 17 miles from Badwater: 114°, according to NOAA.

Check out this clip of highlights from the 2011 Badwater:

I've never run an ultra, but in my college days in Southern California I used to love running in the heat, just for the challenge. (The folly of youth? Maybe.) To any distance runners out there, how do you cope with high heat during races? Does the challenge of the Badwater ultra appeal to you?

Photos courtesy of National Park Service.

Posted on at 7:27 PM

Tagged: Badwater, Heat, death valley, national parks and ultramarathon

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