Sweltering July sets several Columbia records

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 | 5:29 p.m. CDT; updated 9:10 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Construction crews in downtown Columbia worked in severe heat Wednesday afternoon.

COLUMBIA — If there were an Olympics for weather, Columbia would take a gold for hot.

After 31 days of some of the hottest weather in local, state and U.S. history, the July numbers are in. It was the fourth hottest July in Columbia history, setting and breaking local records.

Hotter than usual: July's record breaking weather

97.7: The average high daily temperature for Columbia

.86 inches:  Total precipitation for the month

Six: Number of days that had any rain

15: Days with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher  

Eight: Days with temperatures of 105 degrees or higher  

30: Days with temperatures of 90 degrees or higher  

Where Columbia takes the gold is for number of days above 90 degrees: 30. That beats the 1980 record of 28 days. And of those days last month, 25 of them reached a temperature of 95 or higher, beating a previous record of 24 in 1980 and 1934.

By the numbers:

97.7: The average high daily temperature for Columbia

.86 inches:  Total precipitation for the month

Six: Number of days that had any rain

As hard as it is to believe, July 2012 will earn only fifth place in the record books for greatest number of days — 15 — that were hotter than 100 degrees. But the month moves up to third place for the number of days — eight — that were 105 degrees or hotter.

July set three record highs: It was 105 on July 5, and 106 on July 6 and 7. 

But here's a weird record to wrap your head around: July also hit a record-high overnight low on July 4 when the temperature dropped to only 78 degrees overnight.

The troubling fact is, the hot hot hot July may not be an anomaly. Researchers with the Union of Concerned Scientists see a growing trend of hot weather lasting longer and getting more extreme.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a not-for-profit science advocacy group created in 1969 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published a study July 25 that highlighted the extreme temperatures in the Midwest.

The study, Heat in the Heartland, compiled data over 60 years in 10 Midwest metropolitan areas including Columbia and St. Louis. The other cities were Chicago and Peoria, Ill.; Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; Lexington, Ky.; and Minneapolis and Rochester, Minn.

"The dry, cool summer days that everyone looks forward to, those have decreased by 7.8 days over the last 60 years in Columbia," researcher Jolene White-Newsome said.

Nighttime temperatures in Columbia also increased by 3.7 degrees, which White-Newsome considers significant, "even if there was an increase of one or two degrees," she said.

It's a health issue, she said, because it makes body temperature difficult to normalize.

"If someone is unable to cool off at night, the hot air masses could be extremely dangerous, even life-threatening," she said. 

The National Weather Service predicts August temperatures will be "above average."

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.