It’s been pretty hot in Iowa the past few weeks, but our grandparents or great-grandparents might remember another sweltering summer decades ago that was far worse.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff says it would take 85 years to find when many communities in Iowa had their hottest summer ever.

“July 1936 is the hottest month on record,” Hagenhoff says. “In fact, there were 15 days with temperatures over 100 degrees, including eight consecutive days of temperatures over 100 degrees.”

While Iowa is currently experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions, we still don’t see anything like it during the Dustbowl Days of 1936.

“Not only was it very hot, it was extremely dry,” Hagenhoff says. “In fact, only six hundred inches of rain fell during the entire month of July.”

Even though Iowa has come a long way since the 1930s, with modern air conditioning in our homes and vehicles, heat remains the number one killer of inclement weather in the state, not lightning, flooding, tornadoes or anything else. This distant summer was also exceptionally murderous.

“As of July 15, 1936, in Iowa alone, there were over 232 heat deaths,” Hagenhoff says, “and there would be more later that summer as well. “

High temperatures for the next few days are expected to climb into the ’80s and’ 90s for much of the state.

(Additional report by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)


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