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Oklahoma City Tops Out at 112, Misses Mark by 1 Degree

UPDATE: 9:30 PM Eastern

The high temperature in Oklahoma City topped out at 112°F for the second straight day, extending the streak of consecutive 100°F days to 16. The temperature broke the daily record and was the second-hottest on record for that location, missing the all-time record by just one degree. Forecasts for Friday call for scorching heat once again, with temperatures possibly exceeding 110°F.

ORIGINAL STORY

One year after having the hottest summer in U.S. history, Oklahoma is dealing with oven-like temperatures once again. In fact, after nearly breaking the all-time high temperature record on Wednesday, Thursday may become the hottest day in Oklahoma City history, with the temperature making a run at the record high of 113°F. That record was set during the Dust Bowl in 1936.

High temperatures across Oklahoma on Wednesday, August 1. Click on the image for a larger version. Credit: Oklahoma Mesonet.

On Wednesday, temperatures at all but two observing sites in Oklahoma reached or exceeded triple-digits, with multiple 114°F readings noted, and two 115°F high temperature observations — at the Kingfisher Mesonet site and the Enid airport. The high in Oklahoma City was 112°F, enough to smash the old daily record of 108°F and place second on the all-time high temperature list. That high temperature was the hottest it has been there since Aug. 10, 1936.

“We came close yesterday, we may do it today. OKC's all-time record high is 113. Today we're forecasting 114,” tweeted the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Oklahoma City.

Tulsa, Okla., also set a daily record with a high of 112°F on Wednesday, and the temperature there may climb even higher on Thursday as well. (You can compare the current temperatures to yesterday’s with this 24-hour temperature change graphic from the Oklahoma Mesonet network.)

The heat extended into northern Texas as well, with Dallas-Fort Worth reaching a record high of 106°F Wednesday.

Key to the record heat in Oklahoma is the fact that the state is suffering through a brutal drought, which has severely degraded agricultural land and helped to boost temperatures even higher than they otherwise would be.

Map showing the number of "heat damage days" during July 2012, with a peak in and around Oklahoma. Click on image for a larger version. Credit: USDA.

According to Thursday's “Oklahoma Mesonet Ticker,” Oklahoma ranked No. 1 among states that had the most “heat damage days” during the month of July, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Such days are designated based on having high temperatures of 95°F or greater, since such temperatures tend to cause damage to reproductive wheat and corn.

During the past week, there have been 575 daily record high temperatures set or tied in the U.S., along with 695 warm overnight low temperature records set or tied. Of those, five have set or tied all-time high temperature records, and 22 have broken or tied all-time records for warm overnight low temperature (track records using Climate Central’s Record Temperature Tracker).

This year, daily record highs have been outnumbering record daily lows in the U.S. by a ratio of 9-to-1. This imbalance is part of a trend, according to a 2009 study, which found that record daily highs are occurring more frequently than record lows. A 1-to-1 ratio would be expected if the climate were not warming, but the ratio during the period from 2000-2009 was closer to 2-to-1 in favor of warm temperature records. This finding cannot be explained by natural climate variability alone, the study found, and is instead consistent with global warming.

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