Having your car break down is never pleasant, but it’s probably much worse when it’s 128 degrees outside.
Some unlucky visitors at Death Valley National Park ran into car trouble Sunday when the extreme heat caused their engines to give out, the park said Monday.
“Yesterday’s excessive heat caused at least three vehicles in the park to break down from overheated engines, which can quickly turn fatal if passengers are stranded in this climate without air conditioning,” Death Valley National Park officials said on Facebook. “Fortunately, rangers were available to respond and no major medical incidents were reported.”
The heat at Death Valley over the weekend nearly hit a record, the park said. Official temperatures reached 128 degrees, which was last seen in 2013.
Death Valley is home of the hottest temperature ever recorded, the National Park Service said. On July 10, 1913, it was 134 degrees Fahrenheit at Furnace Creek, according to NPS.
“During the heatwave that peaked with that record, five consecutive days reached 129° F (54°C) or above,” NPS said. “Death Valley holds the record for the hottest place on earth.”
The sparse plant coverage in the park helps the sun heat up the desert surface, and that heat radiates from rocks and soil, becoming “trapped in the valley’s death,” NPS said.
“The depth and shape of Death Valley influence its summer temperatures,” according to NPS. “The valley is a long, narrow basin 282 feet (86 m) below sea level, yet is walled by high, steep mountain ranges.”