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FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2007
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13 days above 100 and counting
Thursday’s high ties record for most days in triple digits in a month

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com · 340-2355

Decatur could break another heat record Friday if the temperature again hits triple digits.

A high of 102 Thursday tied the unofficial record for triple-digit highs in one month, equaling the record of 13 days set in July 1902.

It also broke the record for that date of 100 degrees set in 1906.

The National Weather Service in Huntsville forecast a high of 100 for Friday.

“It’s very possible that the Decatur area could see triple digit temperatures again,” said weather service meteorologist Patrick Gatlin. “I really can’t rule out Saturday either.”

Gatlin said high temperatures should decrease during the next seven days and reach the mid-to low-90s by next week.

Increased cloud cover and a chance of thunderstorms during the next few days should keep temperatures from getting into the triple digits, he said.

But not everyone will receive rain.

“They’re the hit-and-miss kind, typical summertime afternoon thunderstorms,” Gatlin said.

The cold front coming at the end of next week will lower temperatures and bring a chance of more widespread rainfall, he said.

The hot and dry conditions have intensified the state’s drought.

According to a National Weather Service statement, most of the state is now classified as being in an “exceptional drought,” the most severe rating used by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

By Wednesday, 11 people in Morgan County had gone to hospitals with heat-related illnesses, with nearly 400 visiting hospitals statewide, the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Epidemiology Division reported.

Health officials blamed heat for the deaths of two Morgan County residents last week and 10 more deaths across the state since temperatures climbed above 100 on Aug. 8.

Eight more days of 100-degree heat would tie Decatur’s unofficial record for the most triple-digit temperature days in a year. That mark, 22, was set in 1936. On Saturday, the Decatur area broke the official record (set in Huntsville) for consecutive days at 100 or higher with 11.

The average high temperature this August is more than 99 degrees.

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