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A view of the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park in Death Valley, California on February 14, 2017. Credit: RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

Death Valley, California, has set the record for the hottest month ever recorded in the U.S., and it came close to a world record as well. With an average monthly temperature of 108.1°F, this beat the old record set just last year in the same location by about a half-a-degree Fahrenheit.

Why it matters: July brought extraordinary heat to parts of the U.S. as well as many other areas, including the European Arctic, the U.K., Japan, China and California. The Death Valley record, along with other all-time records across the Northern Hemisphere, is consistent with global warming-related trends.

The big picture: Death Valley is one of the hottest places on Earth, but even in that context, July's heat was exceptional, with average temperatures about 6°F above the average of 102.2°F. According to data compiled by the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog, Death Valley saw the following heat extremes in July:

  • The high temperature hit at least 120°F on 21 days.
  • The high temperature reached 127°F on each day from July 24 through July 27, which set records on each of those dates. This came close to this location's hottest reliably measured temperature in recent decades, which was 129°F.
  • The low temperature remained above 100 degrees on 10 days.

According to weather records specialist Maximiliano Herrera, the new Death Valley record falls just shy of the world record for hottest monthly temperature, which was 108.5°F, set in Dehloran, Iran in July 2000.

How it's measured: The temperature measurements at Death Valley are recorded at the appropriately-named Furnace Creek, which is about 190 feet below sea level, and situated in the California desert between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The weather station there holds the world heat record of 134°F, set in 1913, but numerous questions have been raised about the reliability of that measurement.

Numerous locations in the U.S. set records in July for their hottest monthly temperature records, from Reno, Nevada to Caribou, Maine. In many other locations, July ranked as a top 5 warmest month.

Go deeper: 2018's global heat wave is so pervasive it's surprising scientists

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.