Chicago’s heat wave of 1995

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
I remember the heatwave of July, 1995. What are the details?
—Tom McAlister, Chicago
Dear Tom,
A blistering 106-degree high temperature at Midway Airport on July 13, 1995, constituted that month’s highest temperature and fell on the second day of Chicago’s worst weather related disaster. Never before or since had Chicagoans simultaneously experienced that intensity of record high temperatures and record high atmospheric moisture levels. The combination proved deadly and 739 people perished over a five-day period. Dewpoints as high as 82, the city’s highest up to that time and a peak heat index of 122 degrees at Midway helped hold nighttime temperatures above 80 degrees, a development later cited as one of the most important causes of the catastrophic loss of life.

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