Today marks the anniversary of when Death Valley, Calif., set the all-time record high for not just the United States, but also the Western Hemisphere.
Temperatures in Death Valley (at Greenland Ranch, which is now known as Furnace Creek Ranch) soared to 134 degrees on July 10, 1913.
That date was actually one of five consecutive days when Death Valley recorded a high of 129 degrees or higher.
The high of 134 degrees from 1913 goes beyond the record books of the Western Hemisphere. It is the second hottest temperature ever measured in the world. El Azizia, Libya, sits at the top of that list with a high of 136 degrees on Sept. 13, 1922.
While a high of 134 degrees is extreme even by Death Valley's standards, blazing heat is not uncommon. The maximum average high temperature in July is 120 degrees, compared to the 106 degrees in Phoenix, Ariz.
Death Valley owes its hot weather to its extremely low elevation (it sits at nearly 300 feet below sea level) and dry climate.
Death Valley averages only 2.33 inches of rain each year, meaning there is hardly ever moisture in the ground, and the sun's energy can be used entirely for heating.
When the sun's energy comes into contact with wet ground, evaporation takes place and reduces the amount of heating that could ultimately take place.
Interestingly, the all-time coldest reading in Death Valley was also set in 1913. Temperatures bottomed out at 15 degrees on Jan. 8 of that year, according to the Death Valley National Park's website.
Dry and sunny conditions will continue in San Francisco for the official start to winter and the Christmas holiday.
Sunshine will return in full force for the weekend, the official start to winter, and Christmas in Los Angeles.
Big changes are on the way for parts of the Western and Central states late this week and into this weekend.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and skies in the U.S. and southern Canada.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
Thunderstorms in parts of the South this weekend may become strong enough to threaten lives and property.
Little Rock, AR (1998)
282 straight days without subfreezing temperatures, longest streak on record.
Central Illinois (1836)
Famous "Sudden Change" in central Illinois. Cold front at noon caused quick drop from 40 degrees to zero.
Chicago, IL (1960)
12.5" snow, max. 24 hour December snow.