Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in Eastern California is the lowest and driest place in North America. It holds the record for the highest reliably reported temperature in the world: 56.7 °C at Furnace Creek on 10 July 1913. (The 57.8 °C recorded in Aziziya, Libya is not recognised by the World Meteorological Organization).
The greatest number of consecutive days with a maximum temperature of 38 °C or above was 154 in the summer of 2001. The summer of 1996 had 40 days over 49 °C, and 105 days over 43 °C.
At 86m below sea level, Badwater Basin is the point of lowest elevation in North America. Interestingly, this point is only 136km from Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States, with an elevation of 4 421m. Perhaps this is why, every year in July, a few diehards set off on an ultra-marathon from Badwater to the foot of Mt Whitney.
We thought it was a much better idea to keep the car’s air-conditioning running at full blast and hope we made it to the other side before the Cokes ran out!