That time it was 104 degrees in Albany

sun 2015-07-27

The sun on Monday. (As it happens, it's the same sun as in 1911. Long lasting that star is.)

Because it's sure to come up this week as we approach of string of forecasted 90something-degree days: The highest daily temperature on record for the Albany area is 104 -- recorded on July 4, 1911. [NWS Albany]

That record temp was part of a massive heatwave.

Just the day before Albany hit its all-time recorded high, it reached 102 degrees on July 3 (itself a record at the time). Together they're Albany's two consecutive days with the highest max daily temperatures -- two of just 15 100-degree-or-higher days on record (since 1874).

The searing temps were part of a heatwave that stretched from the upper Midwest to New England. The beginning of July through July 5 of 1911 saw 100+ degree days in many cities, including Albany, as the heat wave rolled over the country, smothering cities across its width. From the Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year-Book for 1911:

"The present hot wave," said Chief Forecaster H Bowie of the government weather bureau in Washington on the evening of July 4 "is extensive and more intense than any other in our records It is safe to say it is unprecedented in extent, duration and degree of heat as far back as the records of the bureau go. It affects almost all of the Mississippi valley and the eastern section of the country. There has been no break in this heat wave since it first developed, and in countless localities in the area affected the highest temperatures registered in more than a generation have been recorded. The hot wave is caused by a high barometric pressure over the Atlantic ocean. That is a natural summer condition. There always is a high barometric pressure over the Atlantic at this time of the year, but this year it is abnormally high. Nothing like it in intensity has been known to meteorological science in the experience of the students of this generation.

Of course, all this was before air conditioning, and the heatwave was a disaster. More than 500 deaths were reported as being attributed to the heat -- 51 in Chicago alone on July 3. And here in Albany area, there were four heat-related deaths reported in Troy and two in Albany on July 4 (other reports indicate four people in total died in Albany during the heat wave). Accounts from multiple cities mention reports of deaths and "heat prostrations."

(Even in the age of air conditioning, heat waves still kill many people. The infamous 1995 Chicago heatwave is thought to have prompted more than 600 deaths, many of the people elderly and poor.)

The heatwave finally broke July 6 with rain and thunderstorms. Two people in the region were killed by lightning -- including a man working on his roof in Albany. And the storm prompted the shutdown of the power station that supplied the Albany trolley system, prompting people to find other ways home at the end of the work day.

By the way: That it's really hot right now is not unusual -- the last two weeks of July are typically the hottest week of the year for this year.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Blood plasma, another mixed-use project approved, that Western Ave apartment, and other exciting tales of the Albany Planning Board

Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board is a program recorded before a live studio audience once a month in which the fates of multi-million... (more)

Washington Park tulip dig and sale 2018

The annual Washington Park tulip dig and sale is usually the weekend after Mother's Day -- but that depends on the tulips. And this year,... (more)

Tip credit

Steve Barnes on the back-and-forth over whether tipped employees, such as restaurant servers, should be paid the full New York minimum wage: "Although [Andrew] Cuomo... (more)

The Movies Under the Stars series returns to Albany this summer

The Movies Under the Stars series of outdoor movie screenings is back in Albany this summer. Here's the lineup: June 15: Black Panther in Washington... (more)

Morning Blend

Arrests in reported Colonie road attack State Police say two people have been arrested in what the agency is calling "a reported road rage incident"... (more)

Recent Comments

Do something at a state park maybe? We had our anniversary at Thacher Park. There are a lot of logistics when you do it that way, but it's a beautiful view, there is a pavilion so you don't need a tent, and they have bathrooms so you don't need to rent potties.

One corner, many different buildings

...has 4 comments, most recently from Reader

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 3 comments, most recently from Cynthia Freedman

Suggestions for affordable wedding venues?

...has 22 comments, most recently from Eric

We've had some problems with delayed comments. Sorry about that. Here's what's up.

...has 3 comments, most recently from ChuckD

Morning Blend for May 17

...has 1 comment, most recently from StevieP