No 100 Degrees, But It Was Record Heat Just The Same

OSWEGO, NY – We didn’t hit 100 degrees today (July 21). But, we did break a record.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, the mercury reached 93 degrees and tied the record high set in 1994.

By noon it was 95 degrees and we had a new record.

The last time it was this hot was Aug. 14, 2002 when the mercury hit 97 degrees.

By 7:30 a.m. Thursday the Port City was already at 81 degrees.

Around 1:30 p.m. the cold front moved through, the winds shifted from west-southwest to west-northwest and some clouds cooled things off slightly to 88 degrees, Gregway said.

Temperatures slipped to 88 degrees around 5 p.m. but then they started going back up.

“The wind went back to southwesterly and we went back up to 92 degrees,” he noted. “If that front hadn’t come through we would have been even hotter. It was bad enough.”

The average temperature for July is 70.8 degrees, according to Gregway.

Area forecasters are hinting that the greater Syracuse area could be near 100 degrees again.

The month of July has seen the only official triple-digit record on the books for the Port City with a reading of 100 degrees registered on July 1, 1878.

“That’s probably the only 100 we’re ever going to see, ever,” Gregway said.

In the summer of 1878 the city’s weather station was on the second floor of a building at West First and Bridge streets, where Global Buffet – Canal Commons is currently located.

They had the thermometer sitting in the west window, in the sun all day, according to Gregway.

July has seen quite a few other high temperatures. Besides the record 100 degrees on the first, July has several other torrid records including July 17, 1876, when it hit 98 degrees. It reached 97 degrees on July 5, 1911. On July 9, 1881, it peaked at 96 degrees, and that mark was tied on July 29, 1964.

On July 22, 2002, it hit 91 degrees and tied the record set in 1918. And just a few days ago, July 11, it hit 93 degrees to set a new record.

It can go the other way, too. On July 6, 2000, the mercury slipped to 52 degrees and tied the record low set in 1892.

The heat continues in August.

The top records for that month are 98 degrees, set on Aug. 22, 1883, and 97 degrees, set on Aug. 4, 1881. The other top records include 96 degrees, set on Aug. 11, 1944, and 95 degrees, set on Aug. 3, 1998 and another 95-degree reading on Aug. 13, 1947.

Just recently, records were set on Aug. 2, 2002 (93 degrees), Aug. 9, 2001 (94 degrees) and Aug. 14, 2002 (97 degrees).

The records are still hot in September.

The top mark is 96 degrees, set on Sept. 4, 1953.

Other top records include 94 degrees, set on Sept. 16, 1939, and 93 degrees, set on Sept. 5, 1881, and tied on the very next day as well as Sept. 13, 1931.

The National Weather Service was formed 136 years ago. President Grant signed the bill organizing the agency on Feb. 9, 1870.

Oswego became the 31st weather station formed, on Nov. 1, 1870.

Prior to that, weather readings had been done by the military since the early 1800s.

The Port City’s weather observer from January 1844 to October 1870 is unknown, Gregway said. The readings were taken at Fort Ontario.

From November 1870 to December 1909, the U.S. Signal Corps did the readings.

From January 1910 to February 1953, readings were taken at the U. S. Weather Bureau at the site of the former Oswego Post Office.

From February 1953 to November 1968 the recording site was at Oswego State University.

From then through the present, Gregway has been the observer. He takes the readings at his East Bridge Street residence.

“As far back as 1819, the military was using weather analysis and record keeping at the fort,” Gregway said.