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Oppressive heat continues to bake area

July 23, 1999|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Heat baked the Tri-State area on Friday as the region inched toward a record-number of hot days.

The mercury climbed to 99 degrees, making Friday the 15th day this month the temperature has been 90 degrees or hotter. The record for July is 20 days, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

With humidity, the heat index made it feel closer to 103 degrees.

There's not much relief in sight. The National Weather Service is forecasting 90-plus days through next week.

"It's going to be toasty," said Steve Zubrick, a meteorologist with the Weather Service.

Zubrick said the predicted high for today is between 95 and 100 degrees, with a heat index of 105 to 110 degrees.

"Those are some high heat index values," he said.

The hot weather will continue on Sunday, with highs between 95 and 100 degrees, and will stay above 90 degrees through Wednesday, Zubrick said.

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At the least the humidity will not be as high today, he said.

"Sunday might be a little bit dryer, so it won't be quite as oppressive," he said. "I think your hot day is going to be (today)."

Farmers looking for crop-salvaging rain also are in for disappointment, Zubrick said. Aside from a few scattered showers possible for today, he said the long-term forecast looks dry.

"Basically, what you need at this point is a change in the weather pattern, which is not on the horizon, or the remnants of a tropical cyclone," he said.

The hottest average temperature for the month of July was 79.2 degrees in 1955, according to Keefer. So far this year, he said the month has averaged 79.5 degrees.

"This is probably going to be one of the hottest Julys on record. It already is the hottest so far," he said.

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