Death Valley hit 130 degrees on Sunday; fire tornadoes reported in northern California

High pressure system behind one of the biggest heat waves in decades

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo, a helicopter drops water on the Lake Hughes Fire in Angeles National Forest north of Santa Clarita, Calif. A huge forest fire that prompted evacuations north of Los Angeles flared up around noon Saturday, Aug. 15, sending up a cloud of smoke as it headed toward thick, dry brush in the Angeles National Forest. Evacuation orders remain in effect for the western Antelope Valley because erratic winds in the forecast could push the fire toward homes. Record-breaking heat is possible through the weekend, with triple-digit temperatures and unhealthy air predicted for many parts of the state. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The highest temperature recorded on Earth occurred in July of 1913 in Death Valley, California. On that day, the mercury allegedly reached 134 degrees.

On Sunday, temperatures got within 4 degrees of that record, as extreme heat has taken over much of the Desert Southwest and California.

Sunday’s reading is the highest temperature recorded on the planet since the 1913 reading. In 2013, Death Valley reported a temperature of 129 degrees. In fact, multiple records were broken across California. The heat has resulted in energy shortages, resulting in rolling blackouts.

Extreme heat in Desert Southwest (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

While the heat raged, a severe thunderstorm was reported in San Francisco over the weekend. It was the first severe storm warning there since 2005. Unfortunately, it is believed that lightning from the storms, along with downed power lines are what helped to spark multiple small fires across northern California.

Fires continue to burn across Southern California, and a massive wildfire in Northern California spawned a fire tornado.

Fire tornadoes are rare rotating columns of air, formed by extreme heat and turbulent winds within towering pyrocumulus clouds.

On Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued an unprecedented tornado warning for a “fire-induced tornado” in Lassen County. Winds of potentially 60 mph were felt near the fire tornado.

About the Author: