This Week’s Heat Wave: What It Is And What It Isn’t

A lot of time in my recent weathercasts has been dedicated to a heat wave coming this week. Given the lack of heat so far this summer, there is high confidence that this will be the longest and biggest heat wave of the year. This heat wave, however, will not be among the worst we have seen, including heat waves we had in 2012, 2011, and 2007.

Here is how forecast high temperatures for the next 5 days in Cincinnati compare to average and record high temperatures:


Notice that high temperatures will be several degrees above average but also short of record highs each day Monday through Friday.

The high temperature has only hit 90° 6 days so far in 2013. With the heat from 2012 and 2011 fresh in our minds, this summer seems unusually cool. While this is true, we had even less 90°+ heat in 2004 and 2009:


When you focus on just the month of August, the 90°+ day count is abnormally low so far (0 90°+ days so far this month):


We will hit 90°+ at least a few times in the next week, but we will come nowhere close to getting the 90°+ heat like we had in 2012, 2010, or 2007.

Is 90°+ heat unusual in late August? The simple answer is no. If you focus on just the last half of August (August 15th to 31st), our 90°+ count this year (forecast to be 4 days) will be will fall short of 2007, 1995, and several other years:


There is no doubt it will be hot and humid in the week ahead, but we’ve seen much worse in late August. Stay hydrated and cool in the week ahead!

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