This Is Like Africa Hot

It has been ridiculously hot out … and we’re having crazy thunderstorms at night to boot. Well, if you think this is bad, try living in the area in 1980.

On July 16th, 1980, the city hit a record heat index, which has yet to be eclipsed, of 122! That is hot. That is like … Africa hot! Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot.

The Washington Post wrote about the crazy heat wave in the summer on 1980.

The temperature soared to 100 degrees here yesterday for the third time in six days and local officials grew increasingly concerned about public safety programs the heat wave could spawn.

Water pressure dropped in parts of the area, threatening the ability to fight fires; electrical demands taxed the capacity of local utilities and as many as six deaths may have been caused in part by the continuing high temperatures and humidity.

The oppressive heat was moderated somewhat last evening as a line of thunderstorms accompanied by high winds rolled through the area, dropping daytime temperatures by about 20 degrees in one hour. The respite was brief, however, and temperatures and humidity are expected again today.

Dr. Brian D. Blackbourne, deputy medical examiner for the District, said 15 bodies were taken to the morgue, chiefly from hospitals, between midnight and midafternoon yesterday, about double the normal number. (Approximately one-third of all dead persons are taken to the morgue.)

Yes, it’s hot now. It’s damn hot, but it’s not even close to Africa hot.

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Friday, June 29th, 2012 heat index
Friday, June 29th, 2012 heat index

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Mike54

    Yeah, except that it isn’t even july 16th yet and we’ve already had two independent major heat waves.

  • ZZinDC

    I was lifeguarding in the summer of 1980, at an apartment complex in SW. I remember that it was so hot day after day, that the pool water was never really cool. Even in the diving area where it was 10′ deep, at the bottom is was lukewarm. (Then in August I went to England and needed to wear a sweater, which caused me to fall in love with England forever.)