If you’re hoarding your precious vacation days for the summer and can’t make the escape to a warmer climate, let us take you on a journey to seven of the hottest cities on earth. These places are so hot, you’ll be begging for cold weather!
Yuma (AZ), United States, Average High: 107° F, Record High: 124° F
It’s normally hot in the southwest, especially in Arizona where ordinary summer heat makes much of the state sizzle, but no city is as extreme as Yuma. With its desert climate, extremely hot summers, hot winters and often less than 10 inches of precipitation per year, it’s fair to say Yuma is definitely one of the hottest cities on earth! The average July high temperature can hit a scorching 107° F, making it one of the hottest cities in the United States behind Phoenix. In 1995, Yuma reached its all-time high at 124 F. The high temperature isn’t the only stand-out trait of Yuma. The city set a world record for being the sunniest city on earth, averaging 4,050 of the possible 4,456 hours of daylight annually. That means the sun is shining a little more than 90 percent of the time in Yuma. Pack extra sunscreen.
Death Valley (CA), United States, Average High: 120° F, Record High: 134° F
It’s not called Death Valley for nothing! As one of the hottest and driest places in North America, the summers scorch around 120° F, but can even reach an unbearable 125° F. On one July day in 1913, the temperature hit 134° F, the official highest temperature in the Western Hemisphere. Death Valley is a long, narrow basin, 282° feet below sea level walled by high, steep mountain ranges, so the dry air and bare plant cover allow sunlight to heat the desert surface and become trapped in the valley’s depths. In 1917, Death Valley recorded 43 consecutive days with temperatures over 120° F. Don’t expect much relief during summer evenings with overnight lows only dipping into the 95° F range.
Ahwaz, Iran, Average High: 116° F, Record High: 129° F
Even though it’s located in the Middle East, Iran is one of the only countries in the world that goes through the complete four seasons. The city of Ahwaz – situated in southwestern Iran – has a desert climate and is known for its long, hot summers and mild, short winters. Ahwaz is located in the Khuzestan province, where summer heat is accompanied by high humidity, sandstorms and dust storms. The summer temperature tops off at around 116° F, but the soaring humidity and virtually continuous sunshine make it one of the hottest cities in the world in July and August. From 1970 to 2000, Ahwaz reached 125° F or more than three days each year. Ahwaz set a temperature record on July 15, 1967 when it hit a stifling 129° F.
Dallol, Ethiopia, Average High: 118° F, Record High: Over 130° F
In terms of extreme heat, no place holds a candle to Dallol, Ethiopia; the hottest place on earth. Located in the sizzling Danakil Depression (a geological landform sunken below the surrounding area), it can reach a boiling 145° F in the sun. Dallol has areas that are more than 328 feet below sea level, featuring hot yellow sulfur fields and craters amid sparkling salt beds – the result of a volcanic eruption in 1926. It gets worse: Dallol currently holds the record high temperature for an inhabited location on earth, where an average annual temperature of 94° F was recorded during 1960 and 1966. Dallol is also one of the most remote places on earth – there are no roads and the only regular transport service is provided by camel caravans that travel to the area to collect salt. According to the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia, Dallol has a total population of 83,930.
El Azizia, Libya, Average High: 132° F, Record High: 136° F
Any state located in close proximity to the equator will experience extremely warm conditions – but one African city in particular is record-breaking hot. The world’s highest official temperature of 136° F was recorded in El Azizia on September 13, 1922. This isn’t a place you’re likely to hang outside for long since it’s located in one of the most hot and arid places on earth – the Libyan Desert – where rainfall seldom happens. Summer highs can reach anywhere from 125° F to an intolerable 135° F. To make matters worse, a hot, very dry, dust-bearing desert wind called the “ghibli” can raise the temperature in a matter of hours from 104° F to 122 F.
Oodnadatta, Australia, Average High: 99° F, Record High: 123° F
The climate in Australia is as broad as the country itself. The interior can be characterized as having a hot, drier climate, while northern, southern and coastal cities can be considered tropical. The Tropic of Capricorn runs through much of the country. However, Oodnadatta, an exotic and desolate town in the outback, has a desert climate that recorded the highest measured maximum temperature in Australia at 123° F in January of 1960. On average, the weather tops off at around 97°-99° F from December through February, considerably cooler than the city’s record high, yet still stifling. It also receives about 10 hours of sunshine per day in December and averages 6.5 inches of rainfall per year. Oodnadatta is a quiet settlement inhabited mostly by indigenous Australians. As of 2006, the census reported a population of 277.
Kuwait City, Kuwait, Average High: 112° F, Record High: 126° F
With more than two million residents, Kuwait City is the most densely populated metropolitan city that suffers from record-breaking heat. Kuwait City has an arid climate, featuring very hot summers with scarce rain. The average summer temperature ranges from 102° F to 112° F, but a common heat wave can bring temperatures up to a scorching 122° F. The city has even reported having months with daily maximum temperatures averaging above 115° F. Last June, a record high of 126° F was reached with the temperature in the shade hovering around 117° F. Depending on the specific location in Kuwait City, there can also be a degree of humidity to go along with the sweltering temperatures.
Which of the hottest cities on earth would you visit? Tell us in the comments.
To plan a trip to any of these destinations, get in touch with a AAA travel counselor at AAA.com/Travel.
Top photo: Highway 190 crossing Panamint Valley in Death Valley National Park