A new record high was confirmed for the state of Colorado recently when the Colorado Climate Center verified 115 degree reading near Lamar on July 20.
The record was recorded at a weather station at the John Martin Dam in Bent County. The previous record high was 114 degrees, measured twice, once on July 1, 1933 in Las Animas and again on July 11, 1954 in Sedgwick.
The Colorado Climate Center is in charge of verifying such records. Colorado’s state climatologist, Russ Schumacher, convened the State Climate Extremes Committee and had a teleconference to discuss the new possible record.
The NWS office had been out to the site, so they contacted the observer and verified with them that they did indeed observe that temperature.
“The interesting thing about this record is that it literally went off the charts — it was a weekend observation, so it was recorded on a thermograph that the observer checked when they got back into the office on Monday morning,” said Assistant State Climatologist Becky Bolinger.
“The thermograph only goes up to 110 degrees, and they estimated that the needle went 5 degrees above that,” she added. “So, to be thorough, [Schumacher] got ahold of that same thermograph, took it to large ovens here at [Colorado State University], cranked the temperature up to 115 degrees to verify that the measurement worked properly — and it did.”
The committee then agreed that the 115-degree recording was valid and that it would count as Colorado’s new state high temperature record.
The Colorado Climate Center’s report on the recording is now complete. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will add it to its official records soon.