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Triple-digit temperatures expected to end:
105-year-old record broken after 14th day of 100 or above

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

Decatur broke a 105-year-old record Friday when temperatures soared 100 for the 14th day this month.

A high of 101 helped the city nose past the unofficial record for triple-digit highs in one month set in July 1902.

Meteorologists didn't rule out more 100-degree heat Saturday, but said chances of adding another day to the new record are slim.

The National Weather Service in Huntsville projected a high of 97.

Meteorologist Dave Nadler said cloud cover should keep the mercury from rising past the century mark.

"If we see sun all day, we may approach 100, but we're probably going to be in the 90s," Nadler said.

Scattered afternoon thunderstorms across the Valley are expected throughout the weekend, Nadler said.

"We'll see a slight cool down over the weekend," he said. "Temperatures may be back in the upper 90s next week."

With an average high
temperature of more than
99 degrees, August has been a record month in more ways than one.

On Saturday, the Decatur area broke the official record (set in Huntsville) for consecutive days at 100 or higher with 11. After a brief respite earlier this week, temperatures bounced back into the 100s.

Seven 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.

Following a slight cool
down over the weekend, temperatures could return to the upper 90s next week, but more triple-digit heat is unlikely, Nadler said.

"Chances are pretty good if we don't hit it (100 degrees) tomorrow, we won't hit it again for the rest of the year," he said. "I say that loosely, given what we've seen, but normal highs will be dropping as we get into September."

More than 400 people have been treated for heat-related illness at Alabama hospitals since Aug. 1, according to the Department of Public Health's Epidemiology Division. Health officials blamed the heat for 12 deaths throughout the state, including two in Morgan County last week.

The hot and dry conditions have worsened the drought.

"Most of the state except the extreme southwest portion is under exceptional drought, which is the worst category on the U.S. Drought Monitor," Nadler said.

Meteorologists said weekend thunderstorms might bring brief relief from the heat, but they won't come close to quenching the drought.

"If you get underneath one, you're going to get a good dousing," said NWS meteorologist Andy Kula. "Some areas could get an inch or so of rain, especially if the storms aren't moving. But it certainly won't end the drought."

As of Thursday, Huntsville's rainfall was 20.6 inches below normal for the year. Since January 2005, the area is 52.57 inches below normal.

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