In the 1900s, several heatwaves wreaked havoc on the nation. On July 14, 1954, temperatures reached a record-breaking 115 degrees in St. Louis, Missouri killing 106 people.
Missouri Summer Heat
Summer in St. Louis is right around the corner, and that means the hot, humid Missouri temperatures are on the way. Missouri summers are swelteringly hot and humid.
It gets so hot in July that it's hard even to breathe. Jumping into a pool is some relief, but usually, the swimming pools in Missouri have lukewarm water by July.
Luckily we live in a time of air conditioning. Imagine if the air conditioning unit wasn't invented yet. If you are from Missouri, it sounds like a nightmare. In the 1930s, it was a reality.
The 1934 St. Louis heatwave.
St. Louisans did not have a way to cool their homes, and most people lived in stifling hot brownstones that were impossible to cool down. In the summer of 1934, it was so hot the metal tar roofs on brick homes in the city began to melt, and the streets of St. Louis began to buckle.
The temperature remained at 100 degrees plus in St. Louis in 1934, killing 420 people. That summer, the temperature hit 111 degrees, and trees were dying at Missouri Botanical Gardens. In the country towns of Missouri, farmers had to pay for water so their crops would not die.
The 1936 St. Louis heatwave.
Two years later, the heatwave of 1936 even broke those records for St. Louis. Residents sweated through 37 days straight of the unbearable heat of at least 100 degrees or more. The heatwave finally broke on July 30, 1936, but not for long.
On August 9, St. Louisans were hammered with several more weeks of triple-digit temperatures. Four hundred seventy-nine people, including 29 kids, died in the 1936 heatwave of St. Louis.
The 1954 St. Louis heatwave.
In July of 1954, another heatwave hit St. Louis, and sleeping in the unbearable heat in a brick brownstone in St. Louis was miserable.
Thousands of residents slept in Forest Park in St. Louis and on the sides of country roads. Many families went to parks throughout the city to sleep just to escape the extreme heat in their homes.
The temperatures did not drop below 100 degrees until after 9:00 p.m. in St. Louis, and the 1954 heatwave ended up taking the lives of 104 people.
A heatwave brings droughts.
The heat waves dried up the Mississippi River; there was barely enough water for boats to travel through. On July 18, 1954, East St. Louis recorded a temperature of 117 degrees.
Creve Coeur Lake dried up, and Webster Groves barely had any water. Strict water restrictions with heavy fines were implemented throughout the area, so people couldn't even cool off with water.
The heatwaves even caused railroad tracks to become contorted; the heat was relentless. So this summer, when you are dealing with the heat of July in Missouri, be thankful you have the luxury of air conditioning.
Are you looking forward to July in Missouri?