PORTLAND, Ore — Portland just missed - by one degree on Monday - having two straight triple digit days for the first time in almost three years. Disappointed? Some actually are… As in, "Hey, if we’re going to get that close, why not go all the way?"
Regardless of your take on the toasty temperatures, here are the the hottest digits on record for Portland and the world. Ready, set, chill.
Portland has topped out at 107 degrees three times. The first time was on July 30, 1965. It happened twice again in 1981, on August 8 and 10. Wondering what happened on the day in between that year, August 9? A modest - ha - 105 degrees.
So that’s Portland, but what about the whole state of Oregon? The hotter-than-biscuits honor goes to two hot spots: Pendleton and Prineville. Both hit a scorching 119 degrees! The year was 1898 (yes, they had thermometers and weather observers back then). Pendleton hit 119 degrees on August 18, 1898. But Prineville did it first, on July 29, in that same year. What’s up with 1898?
Let’s widen the scope to the country and while we’re at it, the entire world. That’s easy, because the US record is also the world record. But it’s not without climatological controversy.
Here’s the deal. The currently accepted record is 134 degrees, set, appropriately enough, at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, California. That was on July 10, 1913. That’s the record that is currently certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). But, the WMO has been known to DE-certify records when they come into question and new data is presented to dispute the record. In fact, it did just that in 2012, when it de-certified the 136 degree (previous) world record set at Aziziya, Libya. That record was accepted from 1922 until 2012, when new evidence came for the that the observer in Libya was inexperienced and made several errors.
So what’s the concern with the Furnace Creek record? A couple of meteorological observations experts claim it may be four or five degrees too high because a sandstorm was happening when the record was set. The sand particles act like little mini furnaces, or like those hand warmers you can put in your gloves during ski season. The sand particles are hotter than the air, and transmit heat to the air, thus, the argument goes, making it artificially hotter than it would be otherwise.
But for now, the hottest place in the country and in the world, is Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, California, with 134 degrees F. That’s hot enough for me.