Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crazy From The Heat Records

Yesterday was another day with temperatures above 100°F making it the 14th straight day in Tyler and the 12th straight day in Longview. The only thing crazier than the heat in my opinion is trying to keep up with all the heat records for East Texas. Yesterday I stated that the longest stretch on record for Tyler was 16 days in 1980 and the longest stretch of days for Longview was 10 days in 2006. Well, that is not entirely true and it starts to get real confusing. So I will try to straighten up all the confusion today, remember I said try.

The problem with weather records here in East Texas is the “official” site has changed many times throughout the years and is actually pretty hard to find when doing research. The “official” weather observation site for Tyler has been at the Tyler Pounds Airport since May of 2000. In Longview the “official” site has been at the East Texas Regional Airport since February of 2001 but since the National Weather Service used to be stationed in Longview, there have been reports from the airport since the mid 70s.

There are also many other “unofficial” sites that have kept data over the past 100 years or so. One of those sites showed Tyler had a stretch of 16 days above 100 degrees in 1980 however; the “official” site the Weather Service uses shows only 12 straight days above 100 degrees. Confused yet? So am I.

Well, after a lot of research my friend from the Nation Weather Service in Shreveport Jason Hansford has given me an “official” record that they will be using for the longest stretch of 100 degree plus days for Tyler and Longview. The year was 1998 with Tyler going 20 days and Longview going 21 days at or above 100°F. But remember, these readings were from different locations than we use today. The 21 days for Longview actually occurred 11 miles to the southeast of Longview and not at the airport. The airport only recorded 12 days in a row that year.

So unless we see the triple digit heat linger into the first part of next week, the “official” records appear to be safe. However, since the ASOS (Automated Surface Observing System) has been commissioned in both Tyler and Longview, this stretch of 100°F plus days is the longest.

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