Pat yourselves on your sunburned backs, Las Vegans. You just lived through the hottest month ever.
The high reached triple digits every day in July, and the heat hung on through the night to push last month into record territory.
According to the National Weather Service, July’s average temperature of 96.2 degrees was the highest of any month since record keeping began in 1937. The previous record, set in July 2007, was 95.4.
The question is, did anybody really notice?
July is traditionally the hottest month of the year in Las Vegas, and last month didn’t stand out much in terms of daytime highs. At McCarran International Airport, the valley’s official weather station, the mercury topped out at 113 on July 15 and 18, but neither of those was a record.
As is so often the case in Las Vegas, the difference was made after dark.
The average low temperature for July was 85.7, the highest on record by almost two degrees.
The coolest it got last month was 77. The temperature has not retreated below 80 since July 8.
"That’s a record stretch," said Chris Stachelski, a meteorologist for the weather service in Las Vegas.
Another record set last month: For six days — five of them in a row — the temperature never dropped below 90.
So the pain was more of an accumulation.
"I just know it was offensive. It was a really, really offensive time to live in Las Vegas," said J.C. Davis, spokesman for the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
Beyond the mercury, though, it was hard to find much to suggest the hottest month ever.
Davis said water use certainly didn’t change much. It was up in July by about 2 percent over the previous year, but it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the reason for an increase that small.
NV Energy didn’t set any records for power demand, either.
"Even though July was the hottest month ever, we were well below our peak (from) July 2007," said Chelsie Campbell, spokeswoman for the utility. "It’s not even close."
Contrary to popular belief, record heat does not mean record receipts in the frozen dessert business.
Greg Tiedemann, owner of Luv-It Frozen Custard near downtown, said July was unremarkable, but the summer months often are.
Business is best on more bearable days, he said, "when they’re not telling you on the news to stay in because it’s dangerous out."
Summer heat is Ryan McDougall’s worst enemy and best business partner.
He owns Ice Occasions, a 13-year-old Las Vegas company that sells ice sculptures of every description, from banquet-table animals to oversized Elvises.
McDougall said the cooling system on his refrigerated delivery truck broke twice last month, and the extreme heat reduced the efficiency of his ice-making equipment by roughly one-third.
The same thing happens every summer. "It slows our ice production process a whole bunch," he said.
Of course, without Las Vegas’ punishing temperatures, there wouldn’t be as much of a market for one of his biggest customers: the Minus 5 Ice Bar at Mandalay Bay.
Everything inside the 1,500-square-foot lounge is made of ice, including the bar and the seats. Customers pay $25 to spend an average of 45 minutes in the 23-degree environment, sipping drinks from glasses sculpted out of frozen spring water flown in from New Zealand.
Noel Bowman, the ice bar’s director of operations, said sales during Las Vegas’ hottest month ever were "up significantly" over the previous July, especially during the day, when the heat even chased some people inside from the resort’s pool area.
"We saw business spike when the temperature spiked," he said.
A second Minus 5 Ice Bar is scheduled to open at the Monte Carlo within the next week or two, which means another 22 tons of business for McDougall’s company.
The timing couldn’t be better. The weather service is predicting above-average temperatures from now through the beginning of autumn.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at email@example.com or 702-383-0350.UNCOMMON HEAT
The last time Las Vegas hit at least 100 on every day of the month was July 1988. It’s happened only nine times total since 1931, and only in July or August.