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The heat wave that smothered much of the central portion of the United States in July might have moved eastward in August, but Texas continues to feel the burn through September. Cities across the state, such as Dallas, saw the weather stay hot, and even began seeing record-breaking streaks for triple digit temperatures.
Wichita Falls, a city in northern Texas along the Texas-Oklahoma border, saw their 100th day of triple digit temperatures on September 13. The city was also the first city in Texas to reach 100 days of 100-degree weather. The longest consecutive number of days with 100 degree or higher temperatures in Wichita Falls was 79 days in 1980.
Wichita Falls is another city that can be added to the list of cities in Texas that have seen such a streak. Dallas reached a 100-degree plus weather on the same day as Wichita Falls. Laredo, a city approximately 220 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, has already seen over 100 days of 100- degree plus temperatures. Laredo also saw similar streaks in 1989 and 1998.
The temperatures are not helping wildfires that are continuing to scorch the state. What little rainfall the state saw in August was not helpful, either. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the average amount of rainfall in Texas was 0.73 inches, which is far below average. Lack of rain has been contributing to the current drought in Texas, which is at D4 – Exceptional, the most severe level of drought on the US Drought Monitor.
When the amount of rainfall is small, less moisture in the soil is available to be evaporated into the air. Temperatures then rise faster because there is not enough moisture in the atmosphere to slow rising temperatures and keep the temperatures cool, writes Brett Israel in OurAmazingPlanet.com.
Forecasters at Weather.com predicted cooler temperatures and thunderstorms for Wichita Falls for the following days after the 100-degree temperature streak. Predictions hovered between the high-80s to high-90s for the city.
Temperatures immediately began falling on September 14, and stayed within the predicted range. There were also small amounts of rain, though still way below the average amount Wichita Falls usually sees by this time of the year.