Hotter days on way in Kentucky but not hottest ever

Published 10:53 am Thursday, August 24, 2023

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The hottest week of the year continues in Kentucky, with the National Weather Service (NWS) saying Thursday and Friday are now when the heat will peak before a slight cooldown takes place over the weekend.

Excessive heat warnings are in effect both Thursday and Friday for the western half of the state, primarily along and west of Interstate 65, where the heat index could top 110. Excessive heat watches have been issued for Thursday in Northern Kentucky, for heat index readings up to 110, as well as in Northeastern Kentucky, where it may hit 105.

Some may wonder if this is as hot as it has ever been in Kentucky, so a little research turned up both 1936 and 1930 as record-setting years.

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According to the NWS Louisville office, the last few days of June 1936 saw afternoon temperatures reach around 100. After a one-week respite, during the period July 8-15, all major reporting stations in Kentucky hit 100.  Highlights include Louisville’s all-time high of 107 on July 14, while Lexington set its record temperature of 108 on both July 10 and 15. Bowling Green reached 106 on July 10 and 11. Frankfort’s all-time record of 111 was set on July 15.

August 1936 saw more 100-degree days, with Bowling Green recording ten that month and again peaked at 106.

While 1936 had prolonged heat and drought throughout Kentucky, Kentucky’s hottest ever day statewide occurred on July 28, 1930. Nearly all recording stations reached 100 or more. The only exception was in Pike County, where they saw a high of “only” 99.

In a map that accompanies this story, the high temperatures for that day are in black, while the numbers in red mean it was that location’s all-time record.

Returning to this week, the NWS says more seasonable temperatures and drier, less humid air arrives by Sunday.  There is also a chance for some rain, although forecasters say it currently looks to be only isolated or scattered in nature.