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      Hottest Day of a Long, Hot Summer: July 28, 1988

      July 1988 was well above average from the central Rockies through the Upper Midwest into the northeastern U.S.

      The summer of '88 reached its torrid peak on July 28, 1988 when the temperature topped out at 99 degrees at the National Weather Service (NWS) near Negaunee. This is tied for the hottest temperature ever recorded at the site. The next day it only made it to 94. However, it probably felt much more uncomfortable. On the 28th, dew points were only in the 50s, while the next day they reached as high as 70 in the afternoon??the threshold of stifling humidity, especially for those of us in the U.P. accustomed to drier conditions.

      NWS records show that while there were several intensely hot periods during the summer of ??88, overall, there were enough cool spells to make it moderately warm when you examine the monthly averages. June and August ended with a mean temperature a little over 2 degrees above average. July was the warmest month coming in at 4 degrees above the long-term standard (Image 1 above). There were 13 days during the summer of 1988 with temperatures at or above 90 degrees??the most in the last 50+ summers (records at the present NWS site go back to 1961). The long-term average is 3 days.

      In the first decade of the 21st century, the average was up a bit because of a couple of hot ones??most notably 2005 when 10 days at or above 90 were observed. The summer of ??02 had 8 and 2006 saw 6 days of 90-degree heat. On the other hand, the last few years have been close to the long-term heat standard. In 2009, no 90-degree days were observed and the year before, there were only two. In 2010, while it was warm, 90-degree days were hard to come by. There was one??and that occurred during meteorological spring on May 24. In 2011, there were a total of five days. The summer of 2012 produced four official 90-degree days while last year, there the total was right on the long-term average of three.

      This year there are no 90-degree days and there will not be any before the close of July. A northwesterly flow will produce temperatures at least a little below average through the balance of the work week and the close of July 2014.