Friday, July 15, 2011

Wasn't 1980 something?

"It was the dawning of a new decade
When we got our first microwave
And Dad broke down and finally shaved
Those sideburns off." - Mark Wills from the song "19 Something"

In Mr. Wills song, he talks about growing up in the 70s and 80s and some of the noteworthy events in his childhood. If I were to add some lines to the song, I'd have to pen something about the scorching summer of 1980. It was one of the worst heat waves in modern times, responsible for nearly 1,300 deaths nationwide that year. (Falk and Christmas, 1989)

I was only 10 that year and don't recall a whole lot from that far back but the heat is certainly something I remember. (That and waking up to my parents celebrating when the Royals won the American League Pennant that Fall.) My Dad bought our first air conditioner--a used window unit--for our home that summer. Our rooms on the second floor could get a little warm, to say the least. While it didn't cool off the upstairs, at least we had a spot downstairs to sleep in the living room!

Today is our 21st day of 100 degrees or higher in Wichita. In 1980 though, we topped 100 degrees or more 46 times (2nd only to 50 one hundred degree days back in 1936). Here's a look at some other cities and how many times they hit 100 or better that summer of 1980:

Topeka - 24
Concordia - 27
Hill City - 35
Dodge City - 39
Dallas, TX - 69
Wichita Falls, TX - 79!

The way the extended forecast looks, we'll be closing in on 30 days by the end of next week. And we haven't even reached August yet.

Thanks to the Kansas offices of the National Weather Service for the stats used in this posting.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering what the record for the most 100 degree days was in a year. Thanks for the info! Was the annual rainfall that year as low as 2011 as well?

Rodney Price said...

We had 15.58" of rain in 1936. That is the 4th driest year on record. So far in 2011, we're up to 11.69", which is 6.78" below normal.