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Relief from heat on the way

August 02, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

August got off to a sultry start on Sunday with a high of 92 degrees, but forecasters with the National Weather Service office in Sterling, Va., are predicting this week to be more seasonable.

About 80-to 85-degree temperatures are expected through Wednesday. Forecasters are calling for sunny skies today, but partly cloudy weather is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday.

This week's weather may seem cool after July's record-breaking temperatures.

After 23 days of 90-degree or more temperatures, Hagerstown experienced the hottest July ever, according to information provided on a Web site by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

Only on three occasions have temperatures even come close to that mark, with 20 days over 90 recorded in 1934, 1955 and 1966, he said.

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There was an average temperature of 80 degrees for the month, beating an old record of 79.2 in 1955, he said.

July was also the third driest month ever, with 1.16 inches of precipitation. The second driest was 0.69 inches in 1930. The driest ever was 0.20 inches in 1968.

Temperatures rose to 100 degrees or more twice in July - 100 degrees on July 6 and 101 degrees on July 31. The heat index, which includes humidity to give a measurement of how hot it feels outside, was over 100 degrees 14 times during the month, he said.

The scorching July weather took its toll statewide, causing Gov. Parris N. Glendening to declare a drought emergency and ask for voluntary cutbacks on water use.

On Friday, the City of Hagerstown Water Department made the same request and suspended its annual fire hydrant flushing program until conditions improve.

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