Heat index, if not mercury, to top 100

CHAMPAIGN — Once again, temperatures soared past 90 degrees, and Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel said no relief appears to be in sight.

Angel said the thermometer reached 96 degrees at 1:17 p.m. Monday, two degrees below the record for Champaign-Urbana, which was set in 1988.

He said it marked the 28th day this year the twin cities have experienced temperatures of 90 degrees or more, including six days in May, nine in June and 13 in July.

The record for most days with 90 degrees or more is 56, set in 1936 and tied in both 1954 and 1988.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a heat advisory for noon to 7 p.m. today.

A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity is expected to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible.

Today's temperature could reach around 100 degrees in many areas of central Illinois. Angel said the weather service is predicting 99-degree temperatures for Champaign-Urbana, followed by a 97-degree day Wednesday. With dew points near 70, the heat index readings will be between 101 and 106 degrees.

"Prolonged exposure to the heat may quickly result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, if your body is working hard," according to the weather service advisory.

Angel explained that Illinois is in the middle of a large high-pressure system that includes much of the Midwest and part of the South.

"We're under a high pressure system and have been for some time," Angel said. "This summer has been very similar to the summer of 1988, which was another drought year, when the high pressure stayed on top of us, not allowing storm systems to move through the Midwest."

When an area is in the midst of a high-pressure system, Angel said, it isn't unusual for conditions to be produced like this past weekend, when brief rains came to places like Pesotum, St. Joseph, Villa Grove and north of Danville, while areas to either side got little or no rain.

"You get thunderstorms that pop up once in a while," Angel said. "They may move along and drop a lot of rain over a small area," Angel said. "But, under the conditions we have, even if it rains an inch, that water is gone within four or five days because it is so warm that the water often evaporates back into the atmosphere."

He said the National Weather Service is forecasting more warm, dry area for central Illinois for the next 14 days.

Total rainfall for Champaign-Urbana this month stands at 0.57 inch — well below the July average of 4.70 inches.

Here is a water survey list of weather averages and records for Champaign-Urbana.

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