The story of the hottest day in Cincinnati history

It’s slated to hit 94 degrees on Tuesday, which will likely be a record for any day in October in Cincinnati. It’s going to be miserable, but it’s still 14 degrees cooler than the hottest ever in town.

Cincinnati has seen some serious heat waves. And before the days of air conditioning, they were deadlier.

In 1881, 414 people died in one week in the city of Cincinnati alone. Temperatures reached 103.5 degrees in early July.

In 1901, numerous people died again, with a nationwide death toll of 9,500 during the summer. In July 1936, 104 people died in another heat wave in Cincinnati.

But the hottest year was 1934. While not as deadly as 1881, the facts from July 19-26 are astonishing.

  • The temperature was over 100 degrees for seven of the eight days.
  • 145 people died as a result of the heat in the greater Cincinnati area.
  • The heat index was over 120 degrees for several days.
  • Each of these eight days in 1934 still holds the record for the highest temperature recorded on that day.

It started on Thursday. With a temperature of 99 ° C and high humidity, it felt like it was 110 ° C outside. The heat made the front page, but no one knew what was in store.

On Friday the heat rose to 104.8. Swimmers were evicted from the city’s pool because the water became too hot to swim.

Then it got worse. The worst that has ever been.

On Saturday it was already 100 degrees at 11 a.m. and it didn’t stop climbing. On this day the temperatures were scorching 108.5 degrees.

The temperature stayed above 100 degrees until 7 p.m. that night. At midnight it was still 83.

The city used a record 85.5 million gallons of water that day.

With the sky almost clear, Cincinnati continued to cook. On Sunday it was over 100 for another eight hours with a peak temperature of 107.7. On that day, newspapers across the country dubbed Cincinnati the hottest place in the United States.

At that point, the parks across the city were filled with hundreds of people sleeping every night. The theaters – some of the only places in town with air conditioning – were sold out.

A well-traveled American Airlines official, Carl R. Anderson, visited and said simply, “Cincinnati feels like an oven.”

On Monday it was 104.2. Tuesday was 106.

Wednesday was 106.9. By then, the local death toll was over 100. In Hamilton County alone, 68 deaths were recorded in five days, a record for the office at the time.

Then on Thursday, July 26th, the heat subsided even faster than it came.

Storms broke out during the day as the temperature rose to 100.3 ° C and it eventually rained. The temperature dropped to 75 within two hours and the heat wave was over.

145 people died in and around Cincinnati during the heat wave. Local deaths accounted for about 10 percent of the national death toll, which exceeded 1,400.

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