10 Sweltering Heatwaves That Recently Hit the United States

Man suffering from heat wave Charon in South Europe. Caucasian male presses bottle of water to face to cool off suffering from heat sitting outdoors

10 Sweltering Heatwaves That Recently Hit the United States

If you can’t beat the heat, you can at least commiserate with the sweltering heatwaves that have hit us in recent years. Get yourself a cool drink, pull up a fan, and maybe take comfort if you’re in one of the areas that aren’t being hit with such extreme heat.


This one is low compared to the rest of the list.

Starting our list of sweltering heatwaves is one that ravaged the American Midwest. Temperatures in areas like Grand Rapids, Michigan saw temperatures of over 86° F. Chicago was heavily affected as well, with temperatures exceeding 87° F in March.


California’s Death Valley has the highest recorded temperature from the weather on Earth.
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One of the worst heatwaves to hit California occurred in 2013. This sweltering heatwave saw temperatures in Death Valley reach 129.2° F, the hottest temperature ever recorded for anywhere on the entire planet.


California saw extreme temperatures in 2016.
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2016’s summer went past hot for most of the Southwest and West Coast. Yuma, Arizona reached 120° F. As if this sweltering heatwave wasn’t enough, California saw extreme temperatures of 114° F in Riverside and 125° F in Needles.


There is nothing worse than being without air conditioning in the heat.

One of the worst things to experience in the heat is a power outage. Unfortunately, this nightmare scenario ended up happening to an estimated 34,000 Los Angeles, California residents during one of the most horribly sweltering heatwaves to hit the area. Power outages were further exacerbated by a week of temperatures reaching over 100° F.


Late May can be warm in the South, but not like this.
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Before COVID-19 turned things upside down, the Southeast was ravaged by one of the worst heatwaves to hit the area. Temperatures across cities like Atlanta and Charlotte reached well over 100° F, something unheard of for late May. While Southern springs are warm, this is something else entirely.


The COVID-19 Pandemic was also host to a nasty heatwave.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing, Northern New England was being hammered with one of the most extreme sweltering heatwaves on the books. Burlington, Vermont saw a high of 95° F on May 27th, a record for the city. Caribou, Maine saw temperatures of 96° F.


Seattle isn’t really known for extreme heat like it received in 2021.

The Pacific Northwest dealt with blistering heat in 2021, with one of the most sweltering heatwaves on record for the area. Seattle in particular reached an extreme temperature of 108° F, a record for the city.


St. Louis was boiling in 2022.
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If you were looking for a scorcher of a year, 2022 has you more than covered for sweltering heatwaves. St. Louis, Missouri got to levels of heat not seen in years, with a maximum temperature of 101° F. Baltimore and Philadelphia alike hit 95° F, which was uncharacteristically hot for May.


Phoenix didn’t hit record highs, thankfully.

One of the most sweltering heatwaves on record came in 2023 for the American West Coast. Temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona raged at 110° F for 31 days, one of the hottest months for any American city in history. The extreme heat sadly would lead to around 600 deaths from the conditions alone.


The summer has just begun, there’s still room for worse heatwaves.
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This year has been one of the worst on record when it comes to sweltering heatwaves. The middle of March 2024 saw a horrendous heatwave with temperatures in the Southern Texas town of Del Rio hitting 112° F. This heatwave mostly affected the Southwest and parts of California for the United States.

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