Summer is already in full swing across the state of Texas, with temperatures rising into the triple digits for the fourth day in a row as of Wednesday, but so far, 2023 has been relatively “mild” when compared to the hottest Texas summer on record.
In 1980, a historic heatwave hit Texas. That summer, temperatures hit 100 degrees or above for 40 consecutive days, for a total of 70 days by the end of the year. The Dallas Morning News reported that 29 records were set that year.
The highest temperatures ever recorded in DFW were on June 26 and 27, 1980, with temperatures registering 113 degrees on both days.
“It looks like in the 1980s, we were seeing lots of records being broken during the last week of June, that being June 26th through the 28th period,” National Weather Service meteorologist Miles Langfeld told The Dallas Express. “We have high high-temperature records all three of those days, and that was 112 and 113 degrees.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report on this heatwave, describing it as one of the worst in modern times.
“The heat wave of 1980, one of the worst in modern history in both magnitude and duration in Texas, was responsible for at least 60 deaths in the state, and nearly 1,300 deaths nationwide,” the report read. “Heatwave fatalities far outnumbered fatalities from other weather phenomena.”
Forty-three years later, Texans are once again dealing with triple-digit temperatures, but Langfeld said the NWS is not expecting the highs this week to top the records set in 1980.
An Excessive Heat Warning had been issued for Wednesday, with temperatures expected to reach up to 110 degrees and heat indices of up to 115 degrees. Then temperatures will start to ease, with a high of 103 degrees forecast for Thursday, 101 for Friday, and the upper 90s for Saturday and Sunday.
The NWS in Fort Worth reminds everyone to stay weather aware and offers these tips for heat safety:
“With this persisting heat, make sure to practice heat safety wherever you are! Know the signs of heat illness, and check up on the more vulnerable populations. Drink plenty of water, avoid extended time outdoors during the heat of the day, and look before you lock [your vehicle]!”