Los Angeles County has registered its hottest temperature on record – a scorching 49.4°C according to the US National Weather Service (NWS).
The record spike occurred on September 6 in the Woodland Hills area, breaking the previous record of 48.3°C recorded in 2006.
Accurate records have been kept by the NWS since 1949.
The NWS posted in a tweet that the temperature recorded in Woodland Hills, located in the San Fernando Valley, was the “highest official temperature ever recorded in LA County as well as Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties”.
The record comes after extreme temperatures in August caused a spike in energy use from air conditioners and forced grid operators to impose rolling blackouts.
According to a 2019 Applied Energy study by researchers at Arizona State and the University of California, rising temperatures and population growth could increase electricity demand in Los Angeles County during peak summertime hours by as much as 51 per cent by 2060.
The County of Los Angeles is the most populous county in the US, with more than 10 million inhabitants as of 2018. In fact, it is the largest non-state-level government entity in the US. With a population greater than 41 of the individual US states, it has the third-largest metropolitan economy in the world, and covers 10,570km2.
It has been a tumultuous summer in the US west.
In August, the NWS reported a temperature of 54.4°C in Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert.
“It’s literally like being in an oven,” said Meteorologist Daniel Berc, who is based in the NWS’s Las Vegas bureau.
The heatwave and dry conditions set the scene for epic wildfires (the US term for bushfires), that spread to such an extent California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency.