Hottest Places in United States
Places in the United States with extremely hot temperatures aren't necessarily the same ones with the warmest weather year-round.
While Death Valley has a well-earned reputation as the country's hottest place, that's true only for extreme heat. On a year-round basis, Death Valley doesn't even make it into the top ten for hot weather.
Here's how the data stack up for ranking the hottest places in America.
Places With Highest Temperatures
North America's highest temperature ever recorded is 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius), which occurred at Death Valley, California on July 10, 1913 at Greenland Ranch.
The 134 °F reading was officially reinstated as the world's most extreme high temperature after the World Meteorological Organization examined the records. The WMO concluded that a September 13 1922 measurement of 136.4 degrees F (58 °C) in El Azizia, Libya resulted from errors, rather than exceptional heat. In September 2012, the WMO World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes announced that Death Valley's record instead stood as the earth's highest surface temperature ever officially observed.
No other United States location has come close to experiencing such intense heat. Indeed temperatures over 120 degrees F (48.9 °C) are unusual events, even in the hottest places of the United States, except Death Valley. At the National Park's, weather station, now called Furnace Creek, the thermometer rises above 120 on five to twenty days a year.
Since it set the North American and world records, Death Valley has recorded daytime highs of 128 or 129 °F several times. The Mojave Desert site reached 129 degrees (53.9 °C) in 1960, 1998, 2005 and 2007. That kind of heat has seldom been felt anywhere else in the USA.
|Death Valley, California||134||56.7||July 10, 1913|
|Death Valley, California||129||53.9||July 18, 1998|
|Death Valley, California||129||53.9||July 20, 2005|
|Death Valley, California||129||53.9||July 7, 2007|
|Death Valley, California||128||53.3||June 30, 1994|
|Death Valley, California||128||53.3||July 10, 2002|
|Death Valley, California||128||53.3||July 19, 2009|
|Death Valley, California||128||53.3||July 12, 2012|
|Lake Havasu City, Arizona||128||53.3||June 29, 1994|
|Gold Rock Ranch, California||127||52.8||July 28, 1995|
|Mecca, California||126||52.2||June 26, 1990|
|Palmdale, California||126||52.2||July 28, 1995|
|Thermal, California||126||52.2||July 28, 1995|
|Buckeye, Arizona||125||51.7||July 28, 1995|
|Laughlin, Nevada||125||51.7||June 29, 1994|
|Laveen, Arizona||125||51.7||July 28, 1995|
|Litchfield Park, Arizona||125||51.7||July 29, 1995|
|Needles Airport, California||125||51.7||July 17, 2005|
|Willow Beach, Arizona||124||51.1||July 19, 2005|
|Yuma Airport, Arizona||124||51.1||July 28, 1995|
|Casa Grande Monument, Arizona||123||50.6||June 30, 1994|
|Palm Springs, California||123||50.6||July 28, 1995|
|Phoenix Airport, Arizona||122||50.0||June 26, 1990|
|Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, New Mexico||122||50.0||June 27, 1994|
Extreme heat is confined to a small region of the United States stretching roughly from Palm Springs to Phoenix and includes lower elevations of the Mojave Desert. The area takes in several cities: Phoenix, Yuma, Palmdale and Palm Springs, and towns such as Buckeye and Litchfield Park.
Warmest Places All Year
Out of 7,438 weather stations across the United States, just 17 report an average year-round temperature of over 77 °F (25 °C). Most of these spots sit on southern islands, either Hawaii or the Florida Keys.
Hawaii's warmest climates center around the south coast of Oahu and the west coast of Big Island. Ten other places on this list with consistently warm weather lie scattered along the Florida Keys, from Tavernier to Dry Tortugas National Park.
Just three places on the United States mainland make it over the 77 degree threshold. Two are near the Florida Keys, the hottest being the Fort Lauderdale—Hollywood International Airport. Miami's International Airport pulls in with an annual mean temperature that's just half a degree lower.
Death Valley shows up, not at the top of the list this time, but closer to the bottom, with the same yearly average temperature as Miami. While the weather at Furnace Creek sears in summer, the desert cools down enough during winter to bring Death Valley's annual average in line with that of southern Florida. Death Valley does stand out on this list, though, as the only place outside of Hawaii and Florida, and the only place farther than ten miles from the ocean.
The mean annual temperatures given here are long-term historical averages, based on weather data collected from 1981 to 2010 for the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
|Boca Chica Key, Florida||78.1||25.6|
|Kona International Airport, Hawaii||77.9||25.5|
|Key West, Florida||77.8||25.4|
|Ft Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, Florida||77.7||25.4|
|Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii||77.7||25.4|
|Conch Key, Florida||77.6||25.3|
|Barbers Point, Oahu Hawaii||77.5||25.3|
|Long Point Key, Florida||77.5||25.3|
|Tavernier, Key Largo, Florida||77.5||25.3|
|Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida||77.4||25.2|
|Duck Key, Florida||77.3||25.2|
|Bahia Honda Key, Florida||77.2||25.1|
|Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California||77.2||25.1|
|Miami International Airport, Florida||77.2||25.1|
Places With the Most 100-Degree Weather
The ten places in the nation that most often have really hot weather average over 120 days a year when the temperature climbs to 100 °F (37.8 °C) or higher.
During summer, the heat at these sites is unrelenting. Their thermometers reach the 100s on a daily basis throughout July and August. And the hot weather lasts for many months. Days with 100-degree temperatures start showing up in April and extend into October.
|Location||Days Above 99 °F|
|Death Valley, California||140|
|Bullhead City, Arizona||129|
|Stovepipe Wells, California||126|
|Gila Bend, Arizona||124|
|Yuma Quartermaster Depot Park, Arizona||124|
|Lake Havasu, Arizona||121|
|Willow Beach, Arizona||121|
Most Days With Highest Temperature
When it comes to being the hottest place in the continental United States for any single day, Death Valley once again far outpaces the competition. During a recent decade, Death Valley ranked as the day's number one hottest spot nearly three times as often as any other US location.
|Death Valley, California||803|
|Lake Havasu City, Arizona||276|
|Bullhead City, Arizona||177|
|Fort Meyers, Florida||159|
|Gila Bend, Arizona||98|
Khalid Ibrahim El Fadli, Randall S. Cerveny , Christopher C. Burt, Philip Eden, David Parker , Manola Brunet, Thomas C. Peterson, Gianpaolo Mordacchini, Vinicio Pelino, Pierre Bessemoulin, Josť Luis Stella, Fatima Driouech, M.M Abdel wahab and Matthew B. Pace. 2012. World Meteorological Organization Assessment of the Purported World Record 58°C Temperature Extreme at El Azizia, Libya (13 September 1922). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Guy King. 2007. The Hottest and Coldest Places in the Conterminous United States. Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers. 69: 101-114.
Steven Roof and Charlie Callagan. 2003. The Climate of Death Valley, California. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 84: 1725-1739.
Utah State University. Utah Climate Center.