Gary Cannalte: Just how unusual is this hot weather?

Hottest day ever recorded in Madison was 107 degrees on July 14, 1936
Gary Cannalte: Just how unusual is this hot weather?
Gary Cannalte

For the second consecutive day, the temperature has reached triple digits here in Madison. For the fourth consecutive day, we have set a record high temperature.

Another 100 degree high temperature is possible for Friday, and that would tie another record. Just how unusual is this hot weather?

The record for the most consecutive number of days with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher is five, from July 10-14, set in the blistering hot summer of 1936.

On the last of those five days, the mercury climbed to 107 degrees, Madison’s hottest temperature ever. But if we reach the century mark on Friday, it would be the third straight day of triple digit heat, and that would tie the record for the second longest string of that kind of heat, matching July 22-24, 1934 and August 22-24, 1947.

And for those keeping score, Madison has reached 90 degrees for 9 consecutive days, the fourth longest streak in history. Friday should allow us to reach third place, and it’s not out of the question that we could reach 90 degrees on Saturday, as well.

For good measure, this is our third longest streak of high temperatures of 95 or greater, and assuming we do the same Friday, should reach second place in that category.

If we tie or break a record high temperature for Friday, it will be the fifth consecutive day of reaching a record high temperature. It will also be the second time this year that we will have had a string of five record highs in a row.

Back in March, we reached records from March 14-18. But we also set records on March 11, and from March 20-22. So far for this year, we have set 16 record high temperatures through today; if we reach 100 on Friday, it will be the 17th such day.

We’re not getting any relief at night, either. Low temperatures have stayed well into the upper 70s and low 80s the past few nights. On Wednesday, the low temperature was 81 degrees, and the high temperature was 102 degrees, for an average of 91.5 degrees for the day, making it the fourth hottest ever in Madison’s history.

An Excessive Heat Warning remains in effect through 10 p.m. Friday night for all of southern Wisconsin.

These warnings are only issued when afternoon heat index readings are expected to reach greater than 105 degrees or higher and/or not fall below 75 degrees at night for 48 hours, or when heat index values are expected to reach at least 100 degrees for 4 days or longer.

When it is this hot, people who don’t have access to air conditioning are in danger of developing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The elderly, infants and young children, and those who are not in good physical shape are especially at risk from the heat.

Make sure you check up on relatives and neighbors who might be at risk, especially if they don’t have access to air conditioning.

Everyone should drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, stay out of the sun as much as possible, wear lightweight clothing, and move to air-conditioned buildings if necessary during this heat wave.