Summer rain showers fall over the desert region about 40 miles northeast of Imperial, California, as seen from Belle Mountain in Joshua Tree National Park, at 12:15 pm PDT 19 July 2017, when the temperature was 100°F (38°C). Photo: National Park Service

Dr. Jeff Masters
2 August 2018

(Weather Underground) – 24 July 2018 was one of the hottest days in California history, as a searing heat wave of rare intensity, even for the Desert Southwest, sent temperatures soaring to near-record levels. Death Valley hit 127°F, just 2° short of tying the all-time world record for hottest reliably recorded temperature; Palm Springs hit 122°F, just 1° short of tying its all-time record; and Imperial, California topped out at 121°F, their hottest day since 124°F was measured on 28 July 1995.

The temperature might have gone higher on July 24 in Imperial, but clouds streaming in from the Gulf of California brought mostly cloudy skies by mid-afternoon, and rain showers began falling at 3:53 pm PDT. At the time the rain began, the temperature was an astonishingly high 119°F (48.3°C)—a new world record for the hottest temperature ever measured while rain was falling. A series of rain showers continued to affect Imperial in the late afternoon and early evening, with the station recording light rain for four consecutive hours. Most of the rain evaporated since the humidity was only 11 - 15% during the rain event, and only a trace of precipitation was recorded in the rain gauge. Nevertheless, the 24 July 2018 rain at 119°F in Imperial sets a new record for the hottest rain in world history.

I called around to some of the businesses and city offices in Imperial to find someone who could tell me what rain at 119°F felt like, but most of the people I talked to were too busy hurrying from one air conditioned place to another at the time to notice the event. One person did report that going outside after work while the rain was falling made it difficult to breathe, and felt hard on their heart. I gave them my sympathy for suffering through this truly rare and uncomfortable event! [more]

Hottest Rain on Record: Rain Falls at 119°F in Imperial, California

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