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      Heat Waves      

Great Plains Heat Wave of 1901

     July, 1901 was a scorcher in the Great Plains.  At the time, it was the hottest month there since the 1880's.  Lawrence, Kansas had its hottest month since weather records began to be kept by the University of Kansas in 1867.  June had also been the hottest of any June up to that time.  Temperatures at Lawrence hit 90 degrees or better every day in July and 100 or more on 21 days with 18 of those days being from the 8th -25th.  Phillipsburg, Kansas recorded the highest temperature in the state during July of 1901, as the temperature rose to 112 degrees.  Iowa's average temperature for July of 1901 was 82.4 degrees, and the state's highest temperature that month was 113 degrees.  Villisca, Iowa registered 19 consecutive days with high temperatures of 100 degrees or higher.

     Elsewhere, Lincoln, Nebraska hit 106 degrees in July, 1901 following a high of 103 in June, and the average maximum temperature at Lincoln in July was 98.5 degrees.  Omaha, Nebraska registered a high of 105 degrees that July, and the average maximum temperature at Omaha for July of 1901 was 96.7 degrees.  Things were even worse in Oklahoma.  At Woodward, the average high temperature for July of 1901 was 101.4 degrees.  At Mangum, Oklahoma, the average high was the same as that of Lincoln, Nebraska - 98.5 degrees.  In Missouri, Columbia hit 111 degrees that July, and the average maximum temperature there for the month was 99.6 degrees.

     The heat that summer reached up into the Dakotas and eastward into Ohio and Michigan.  In fact, on July 15, 1901 the thermometer at Marquette, Michigan reached 108 degrees - the highest temperature ever registered there to this day.  Dayton, Ohio recorded a high temperature of 108 degrees as well that month on the 22nd, and that still stands as the highest temperature ever recorded there.  In addition, Cincinnati, Ohio (Hamilton county) registered its longest continuous stretch of days at or above 90 degrees that July - 17 of them from July 14 to 30.



                             Temperature Departure from Normal for August, 1918

                                               Areas in red are above normal.


Heat Wave of August, 1918

     Temperatures for August of 1918 were well above normal from the Great Plains eastward to the Middle Atlantic States and the Carolinas.  This was due mainly to the hot conditions of the first half of that month.  Greatest temperature departures from normal in Kansas were reached on the 3rd but not until the 5th in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and northern Alabama.  The Middle Atlantic States did not reach their peak until the 6th and 7th with the Carolinas also hitting the peak on the 6th.  On the 5th, Chicago, Illinois was 26 degrees above normal at the evening observation time with a reading of 100 degrees.  On that same date, temperatures were 10 degrees or more above normal over an area of approximately 1,000,000 square miles.

     Two outstanding features of this heat wave were its short duration in the Northeast and East and the dryness of the air.  When the highest temperatures were measured, clouds were mostly absent from the heated regions.

     In Ohio, the heat wave began on the 4th of August with temperatures hitting the upper 80?s to upper 90?s at most stations and reaching as high as 100 degrees at Findlay (Hancock County),  Paulding (Paulding County), Wauseon (Fulton County), and Delaware (Delaware County).  Highest temperatures were attained on the 6th with practically every reporting station in the state hitting 100 degrees or more.  Amesville in Athens County hit 110 degrees that day ? the highest temperature reading in the state.

     Although the heat wave hung on until about the 14th, temperatures gradually decreased.  During the 11 day period from the 4th to 14th, Delaware had seven 100 degree days.  Temperatures hit the century mark even along the shore of Lake Erie.

     Ice companies could not keep up with demand.  At Dayton (Montgomery County), 500 tons of ice per day were being delivered, but that was not enough.  At Lima (Allen County), 1,500 people waited all night for one ice plant to open in the morning.  In various places, people slept outdoors to escape the oven-like heat.  Factories in several cities had to close when men could not work in the tremendous heat, and there were some deaths due to the heat.