Dallas breaks much-awaited heat record, with mixed emotions

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 13, 2011 7:33 PM
Dallas breaks much-awaited heat record, with mixed emotions

By Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) - Record watchers in Dallas had something to cheer about on Tuesday, or lament, depending on their point of view after this summer officially logged more triple-digit days in north Texas than any other on record.

"We made it," said Jesse Moore, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. "We tied the record on Monday and beat it on Tuesday."

Home to such championship teams as the Mavericks, the Cowboys and the Stars, Dallasites are used to winning and have learned to savor the flavor of victory.

But beating the heat was no picnic. The hopes of many competitive-minded north Texans were dashed when they came close but narrowly missed breaking a record streak of consecutive 100-degree days in August.

A brief thunderstorm skimmed the area on August 11, breaking the streak at 40 days. The record was, and still is, 42 days of triple-digit days, set in 1980.

But then on Tuesday, the mercury climbed to 100 degrees about noon, marking the 70th day of triple-digit heat this summer and beating a record of 69 days of such heat set in 1980.

Dozens of weather watchers posted comments about the heat on the weather service's Facebook page after officials posted the record-breaking report.

"At least we have something to show for what we went through," one resident commented.

A second record was broken as well when the temperature hit 106 degrees on Tuesday, a new record for that day.

Aside from the light-hearted competition, the heat, combined with extreme drought, has come with a hefty price in north Texas and around the state.

At least 46 deaths have been blamed on the heat in north Texas, including 17 in Dallas County, according to officials with weather service and the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office.

Devastating wildfires -- spawned by high temperatures, wind and dry conditions -- have raged across much of the state, charring more than 3.6 million acres, destroying thousands of homes and resulting in multiple deaths since November.

But in a sign some relief may be on the way, a cold front was expected to move into North Texas overnight on Wednesday, dropping high temperatures into the 80s on Thursday. No rain was expected.

(Edited by Karen Brooks and Cynthia Johnston)