C-U edges closer to record for 90-degree days

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign-Urbana moved one step closer Monday to either tying or setting a new record for most 90-degree days in one month.

Monday's high exceeded 90 degrees for the 20th out of 23 days this month.

July 1936 is the local record-holder for most 90-degree days in a month: 24.

If the temperature exceeds 90 degrees in at least five of the eight remaining days this month, July 2012 will hold the record for most 90s in a month. The National Weather Service in Lincoln is forecasting 90-degree-plus highs for today, Wednesday and Thursday, but highs only in the upper 80s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Monday also was the 35th 90-degree-plus day this year. The Champaign-Urbana record is 56 90-plus days in 1988, 1954 and 1936, said state climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.

Although 21 days short of that record, Angel noted "we still have the rest of July, all of August, and even September to accumulate more of them."

While July 2012 almost surely will go down as one of the hottest months ever, it won't set the all-time record. Through Sunday, the average temperature this month was 75 degrees. In July 1936 the average temperature was 83.8 degrees.

There have been 387 cooling degree days so far this month, compared with 566 in July 1936, 496 last July, 439 in July 1954 and 413 in July 1988.

AccuWeather.com reported last week that 2012 already is in the running for one of the hottest summers in the last 60 years, along with the summers of 2011 and 1951.

"The summer of 2012 is on pace to finish third hottest on the list of 62 summers since 1950, but is still in the running for number two or one on the list," said AccuWeather.com president and CEO Steven Root.

Both AccuWeather and the National Weather Service have forecast continued warmer and drier than normal conditions in Illinois for the next three months.

"We expect more surges of heat to build out of the Plains and into the East in the coming weeks," said AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok. "While cooler and potentially wetter conditions are projected to expand in the West, the most extreme warmth, relative to normal, could be forced out of the Plains and take root in the Great Lakes and Northeast, during September and October."

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