July gets underway on Friday and no doubt there will be plenty of hot spells during the month across the nation. Indeed, July looks like it will begin with some very hot weather across the nation’s mid-section as temperatures are expected to be well above-normal for the first ten days or so. Despite the expected hot start in the much of the nation, July 2022 will certainly have a difficult time matching the extreme and sustained heat of July 1936. In fact, one of the most widespread and destructive heat waves ever recorded in the US took place in the summer of 1936 which fell right in the middle of arguably the hottest and driest decade ever for the nation.
The decade of the 1930’s is renowned for the “Great Depression” and the “Dust Bowl”, both of which caused calamitous human suffering in this country. Not only were huge numbers of crops destroyed by the heat and lack of moisture in the “Dust Bowl” era, but thousands of lives were lost as a result of the heat, drought and economic hardship. This extreme heat wave was particularly deadly in high population areas where air conditioning was still in the early stages of development. The heat wave experienced in 1936 began in late June, reached a peak in July, and didn’t really come to an end until September. Many of the all-time high temperature records that were set in the 1930’s in numerous cities and states still stand today. Perhaps the hottest day ever recorded in the US took place on July 14th in 1936 when the average maximum temperature was 96°F and 70% of the US was over 90 degrees.
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