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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of July 10, 1998

This week, facts about... the Chicago heat wave of 1995.


CURWOOD: We've had our share of beastly hot days this summer but none so bad as the Chicago heat wave of 1995. For 5 days in mid-July, the city became a lethal oven. At its peak, the mercury hit 106 degrees. But because the "windy city" wasn't so windy that week, and it was stiflingly humid, the heat index reached 119 degrees: that's how hot it actually felt because of the still and muggy air. About 700 people died as a result of these conditions, three quarters of them over the age of 65. Thousands of farm animals throughout the Midwest and Plains states also died. The hottest day on record for the Western Hemisphere was also at this time of year, but 85 years ago and, not surprisingly, in Death Valley. On July 10, 1913, the temperature there rose to 134 degrees. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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