An American town may have recorded the world’s hottest ever temperature amid wildfires and a searing heatwave.
The aptly named Furnace Creek, in California’s Death Valley, reached a sweltering 54.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday at about 3.40pm local time, according to the National Weather Service.
It is still being verified but if correct it could be the world’s highest temperature ever recorded.
It was a dry heat too with only seven per cent humidity.
A temperature of 56.7 was recorded in Death Valley in July 1913, and Kebili, Tunisia, is said to have hit 55 in July 1931, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.
But recent research by Christopher Burt, an extreme weather expert, has led some meteorologists to view these older records as the results of observer error.
NWS meteorologist Daniel Berc said it felt “insanely hot” in Furnace Creek.
"It's literally like being in an oven," Mr Berc said.
Brandi Stewart, who works at Death Valley National Park, told the BBC the heat was “oppressive”.
"When you walk outside it's like being hit in the face with a bunch of hair dryers," she told the BBC.
In Furnace Creek, staff and guests at The Oasis hotel were being urged to wear hats and sip water relentlessly while outside, according to general manager John Kukreja.
He tells guests that extreme heat does strange, deceptive things to the body.
"You're going to sweat and the sweat's going to dry instantly and you're never going to know you actually felt hot," he said.
"Your hair stands on end. It's almost like you feel like you're cold, like goose bumps."
On Monday, the heat continued with the temperature reaching 51.
The NWS tweeted on Monday night local time the “sweltering heat” continued across the west coast of the US with temperatures ranging between 37-48 degrees.
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