Heat Pales In Comparison To The Heat Wave of 1936

There’s no denying that it is hot out there today.

The official high in the Quad Cities was 104°, just a degree shy of the record high.  It also marks the first time since I moved here in late 2005 that we’ve had back-to-back 100° days (Friday’s high was 100°).

Relief is on the way in the form of a cold front that is sparking a few thunderstorms that popped up in Jackson and Clinton counties in Iowa and built eastward into Carroll County, Illinois.  If you’re lucky enough to get one of those storms, you’ll see some rain, wind, and lightning, but don’t expect any drought relief.

While the 104° today is hotter than last year’s 100° on July 19th, there was much more humidity in the air that day and the heat index (the combination of the temperature and the humidity and how hot it makes your body feel) reached around 115°.   Today, it’s been about 108°.  Maybe this is our version of “dry heat”.

We’ve now experienced seven consecutive days in the Quad Cities with highs of 90° or higher.  If the high on June 30th had not stalled at 88°, the three 90s before that would have extended that streak to eleven days!

However miserable it feels out there today, this is nothing compared to what the Quad Cities, the Plains, the Midwest, and the Great Lakes were experiencing back in July 1936.

Officially, in the Quad Cities, we saw record highs each day from July 5th through the 15th of 102° to 111°.  That was eleven straight days of record heat!   And, that 111-degree temperature on July 14, 1936 still stands as the all-time record high in the Quad Cities.

This map from Weather Underground easily shows why 1936 was the hottest summer on record in the United States.

All I can say is that it’s hot enough for me now and I would have hated to have lived through the “Heat Wave of 1936”.

Cooler and more seasonal temperatures are on tap beginning Sunday through much of next week with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s.

Unfortunately, other than the scattered storms that may skirt some hometowns this evening and early Saturday night and Sunday (very slight chance), the drought will only get worse.

We went seven consecutive days in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois, without measurable rain before an evening thunderstorm Saturday dropped 0.20″ at the airport.  Our last measurable rain before Saturday, 0.38″, fell on June 29, 2012.

Stay cool and stay safe.

Anthony

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