‘Mind-Boggling’ Temperatures Hit US National Park, Potentially Killing Motorcyclist

(Photo by ETIENNE LAURENT / AFP) (Photo by ETIENNE LAURENT/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Record-setting temperatures in Death Valley National Park are suspected of killing a motorcyclist and hospitalizing another person Saturday.

The unidentified motorcyclist is believed to have died from heat exposure as four others in the same group were treated for “heat stress” Saturday, according to NBC News. The group was allegedly riding near Badwater Basin, where temperatures reached a “mind-boggling” nighttime heat of 121°F at 10:00 p.m. during the weekend, according to meteorologist Colin McCarthy.

The National Park Service issued an “Extreme Summer Heat” alert, urging visitors not to hike after 10:00 a.m. as temperatures are anticipated to hit anywhere from 100°F to 130°F. Images shared online of the park’s unofficial temperature gauge suggest the 130°F mark has already been hit in 2024.

Temperatures in Death Valley were expected to reach upwards of 131°F in 2023, but the potentially record-breaking number never quite got there, according to CBS News. Some argue that the highest temperature ever recorded was 134°F at Furnace Creek in Death Valley in July 1913. Experts dispute this measurement, with most relying on the 2021 high of 130°F. (RELATED: Retired Marine Found Dead In Death Valley)

At around 99°F, ambient air doesn’t do much to provide cooling for humans, suggesting the riders in Death Valley were exposed to incredibly dangerous conditions, NBC News noted. The temperatures, coupled with the protective gear typically worn by motorcyclists, likely contributed to the situation.