Searing heat in the Heartland: Oklahoma’s hottest day ever?

July proved to be historically scorching from the eastern Rockies to the mid-Atlantic. Indianapolis, Louisville, St. Louis, Denver and Roanoke (Va.) had their hottest Julys on record. Chicago, Minneapolis, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. are among cities that had their second hottest Julys. But, in recent days, some of the most impressive heat has focused on the Sooner state.


High temperatures Tuesday across Oklahoma (Oklahoma Mesonet)

Model forecast for high temperatures in Oklahoma this afternoon

In Oklahoma City, high temperatures on Wednesday were forecast to “flirt with” the city’s all-time high temperature record of 113°F, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

It’s a similar story in Tulsa. The National Weather Service said Tulsa had its hottest all-time average temperature Tuesday and has a chance to match its all-time record high of 115 today:

FORECAST HIGH FOR TULSA 113 DEGREES..JUST 2 DEGREES FROM THE ALL TIME HIGH OF 115 SET 76 YEARS AGO IN THE DUST BOWL ERA ON AUG 10 1936. IF 00Z WRF MODEL IS CORRECT RECORD 115 MAY BE IN JEOPARDY. AVERAGE TEMP OF 100 YESTERDAY ALSO AN ALL TIME RECORD. PREVIOUS RECORD AVERAGE TEMP 99.5 AUG 2 2011.

The 2 p.m. CT temperature in both Oklahoma and Tulsa was 108. Gary McManus, Oklahoma associate state climatologist, said almost the entire state was over 100. One station in the Oklahoma mesonet hit 109 before noon he said.

McManus stopped short of predicting Oklahoma’s hottest day on record, but thinks it will be close.

“It’s going to end up being one of our hottest days,” he said. “Whether it eclipses the top spot, we’ll have to wait and see.”

The hottest day in Oklahoma history was Aug 12, 1936 which hit 120 in two different locations, McManus said. The average temperature (taking the high and low together) that day was 94.9 across the state. So far today, the hottest temperature has been 112.

Today probably represents the peak of the heat wave, but temperatures as high as 110 are likely through Friday, and widespread triple digit readings persist into next week, at least.

The recent round of extreme heat is just a year removed from Oklahoma’s hottest July on record in 2011. That proved to not only be the hottest month in state history, but also the hottest month experienced in any U.S. state since records began in 1895.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.

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