Thursday, October 3rd 2019, 7:30 pm - The winner in this head-to-head temperature battle might surprise you.
Southern Ontario saw temperature records smashed this week as summer-like heat and humidity made a brief, but potent, return to the region on Tuesday. In the western Prairies, however, a different story was playing out in the wake of heavy weekend snow and temperatures some 20 degrees below average.
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That pattern wasn't isolated on this side of the border. Records have been dropping all week across the eastern United States, where temperatures have been near 100ºF (38ºC) in many states, toppling all-time October highs in some cities. On the opposite side of the coin, spots in the western United States have been cooler than usual, with record cold reported in the Pacific Northwest and Montana, just across the border from snowy southern Alberta.
But records weren't the only result of this extreme jet stream pattern. If you were looking for the hottest travel destination, you would have wanted to pick the downtown over the desert.
Early October heat sent Toronto's high to 31.8ºC on Tuesday, while perpetual pressure cooker Death Valley topped out 2 degrees below, at 29.4ºC (85ºF).
The California valley's reputation for heat is well-deserved; it holds the title as the site of the hottest-ever recorded temperature in North America -- a blistering 134ºF, or 56.7ºC, recorded back in 1916. But the desert is a climate of extremes, and Death Valley is no different. The lowest temperature ever recorded there was also in 1916 when the thermometer dipped to 15ºF (-10ºC).
Though steamy by most Canadian standards, Death Valley was on the chilly side this week. The average October high is around 93ºF, or 34ºC. By contrast, Toronto's average high for early October is in the mid-teens and falling fast.