How hot was it in Lake Havasu City? So hot (128) they’re celebrating the record


As anniversaries go, Lake Havasu City’s is a hot one. Twenty-five years ago, the thermometer notched a record-breaking 128 degrees for a U.S. city. Now, it hopes to beat the June 29 record scorcher — and plans a party with cookie-baking on car dashboards and stamping visitors with “We Know We’re Hot” temporary tattoos.

The Arizona city posted the super-high temperature on June 29, 1994, the hottest day recorded in roughly a century of record-keeping in the state.

“It was a whole week’s worth of 120 to 125 degree temperatures, and then that spike up to 128,” said Doyle Wilson, an environmental scientist and adjunct professor at Arizona State University’s Havasu campus. “We actually had our highest and second-highest temperatures ever during that three- or four-day period.”

(Death Valley holds the record for the hottest place on Earth when temperatures reached 134 degrees on June 10, 1913. However, it’s not an incorporated city, like Lake Havasu City.)

The free Hot for Havasu festival runs from 3 to 6 p.m. June 29, with a slew of free events at the London Bridge Resort, near the city’s most iconic attraction, transported stone-by-stone from London to the Arizona desert in the early 1970s.

Cookie dough placed on car dashboards around noon should be come out of the auto “ovens” around 5:30 p.m. It’s not unusual for temperatures inside cars to reach 150 degrees in the summertime, Doyle said, meaning five hours should sufficiently bake the cookies. The fest also will feature temporary tattoos, body painting, games and live music.

Free temporary tattoos will be available during the Hot for Havasu festival.
(Go Lake Havasu)

Will the day’s heat break the record?

At 5:15 p.m., an ice sculpture carved of the local high temperature (this year’s, not 1994’s record) will reveal whether the city made it to 129 degrees or hotter.

In the meantime, Lake Havasu City will continue to keep score with Death Valley’s big heat. The two destinations, 265 miles apart, remained competitively close temperature-wise over the last three decades. “When you average those numbers out, Death Valley is warmer by 1 degree than Lake Havasu City,” Doyle said.

And for anyone who wants to find out whether it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, you may do so during the summer in cities along the lower Colorado River, including Bullhead City, Ariz., and Needles, Calif. Just make sure you use aluminum foil for your experiments so you don’t leave big messes behind.