Sunday’s heat index was the highest in Montgomery in over 20 years
The peak heat index reached 119.4 degrees
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Sunday didn’t break any records in Montgomery even though it was ridiculously hot and muggy. It was certainly very close as the city came within a single degree of tying the record high temperature for August 6th of 100 degrees.
Montgomery officially reached 99 degrees, good for the second-hottest August 6th in recorded history. It is also the hottest temperature observed in Montgomery so far this year.
That is just part of the story though.
The temperature combined with the humidity is what really stole the show on Sunday. When you combine the temperature and humidity the result is what’s referred to as the heat index. In other words, the “feels like” temperature.
The heat index reached a jaw-dropping 119.4 degrees Sunday afternoon. That is by far the highest value seen in the Capital City so far in 2023. And it’s really not even close.
Before Sunday the highest heat index of the year had been 112.7 degrees. Montgomery reached that value twice -- on August 5th and July 15th. Getting a heat index that high just doesn’t happen that often despite it always feeling really hot during the summer months.
So far this year there have been 16 days with a heat index above 105 degrees and only 8 with a peak heat index at or above 110 degrees. Both of those totals are actually above what Montgomery typically receives in a given summer. Yep, 2023 has been very hot and muggy.
To find the last day with a heat index as high as what was recorded Sunday afternoon you have go all the way back to August of 2002! Way back on August 11th of that year the heat index soared to an unprecedented value of 121.6 degrees.
Since 2000, the only other days with a higher heat index than what was observed Sunday are August 15th (120.1°), 17th (119.8°) and 18th (120.1°) of 2001.
That places Sunday in 5th place when it comes to peak heat indices seen in Montgomery since the turn of the century. Even going back all the way to when data began being collected at the airport in 1948, one can see that the heat index just simply doesn’t get up near 120 degrees much at all.
I went back all the way to 1948 and looked for days with a heat index above 116 degrees. I found only one such day between 1948 and 1999. Only one!
Between 2000 and 2023 there have been six days with a heat index above 116 degrees. That means over the last 75 years Montgomery has observed seven days with a maximum heat index above 116. That really puts the scorching hot 119.4-degree heat index seen on Sunday into perspective.
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