According to KMBC News, “Temperatures hit 100 degrees Thursday for the first time in 5 years.” If accurate, that statement should ease the minds of those in the bi-state fretting about global warming in this–warmer than average–summer.
One 100-degree day in five years may, in fact, be a sign of global cooling. A little perspective taking in is order.
For old timers with keen memories a high temperature of 101 degrees–Thursday’s high–is nothing to sweat about. A few of the more senior old timers may recall the ghastly and depressing summers of 1934 and 1936.
Nationwide, 1934 was the hottest year on record, one of the byproducts of which was the Dust Bowl. Add record heat and sky-darkening clouds of inescapable black grit to the Depression then in full swing, and you will understand why Grandpa always thought his descendants total wusses.
In the Kansas-Missouri area, 1936 was steamier even than 1934. On one August day that year, the temperature in Kansas City topped out at a balmy 113 degrees, a record that still stands. Western Kansas reached 121 degrees that same same summer.
In 1936, Kansas City experienced a will-sapping 53 days with temperatures above 100 degrees, and almost no one or no building had air conditioning, not even the movie theaters.
In 1954, the area experienced 80 days above 90 degrees, 52 above 95, and 31 degrees above 100. And at that time no more than one in every ten homes had air conditioning. These were hardier souls back then. For cooling, thousands of them slept outside, either on their front or back porches, in their yards, or even in public parks.
On the plus side, no one stole their sleeping bags, and their weathermen just talked about the weather. To hear about the apocalypse back then, people did not listen to their local climate guru. They went to church.