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AP News

64 Okla. temperature records fall or tied in July

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than 64 temperature records were broken in Oklahoma during a scorching July, and additional ones fell across the state Wednesday on the first day of August, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

The National Weather Service reported that Guthrie, about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City, registered 114 degrees to break the statewide record of 113 degrees, set at Meeker in 1896 and tied in Ralston last year.

Weather officials said it would be Thursday before other temperatures were officially recorded.

Records began falling early in the afternoon before leveling off.

Chandler, about 45 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, was at 113 degrees at 2 p.m., breaking the record of 109 degrees for the date set in 1923, while Lawton, in southwestern Oklahoma, was at 109 degrees at 2 p.m., breaking the record of 106 set in 1999.

The hottest temperature ever recorded, 120 degrees, has been reached six times, most recently at Tipton in 1994.

"It's too hot to eat," said Megan Freedman of Midwest City as she stepped out of an Oklahoma City office building.

Of the 64 temperature records broken or tied during July, 13 were Tuesday, the final day of the month.

Despite the records, it did not appear likely the record for the hottest day ever recorded in Oklahoma would be broken, 94.9 degrees set on Aug. 12, 1936, a date when the 120 degree record was reached in both Altus and Poteau, said associate state climatologist Gary McManus.

"We didn't do it last year," McManus said, in regard to July 2011, the hottest month ever recorded in the United States in records that date to 1895, and to the summer season, which was the hottest in state history and second hottest in U.S. history.

The statewide average daily temperature is determined by taking the warmest reading and the coolest reading at each of the state's 120 Mesonet stations, adding those numbers together then dividing by 120, the number of stations, McManus said.

Heat indexes were above 120 degrees in parts of central Oklahoma by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Ed Bowie of Edmond said he tries to stay inside as much as possible, and drink plenty of water when he is outside.

"If I do go out in the heat I try to stay out of direct view of the sun as much as possible," Bowie said. "I mow my yard, and I try to mow my yard in the early morning."

Lara O'Leary, spokeswoman for Emergency Medical Services Authority, said the ambulance service has responded to more than 100 heat-related calls since July 9, usually late in the day.

"People get home from work and want to go out and mow their yards or bicycle or take their kids to the park or whatever," O'Leary said. "We encourage to them to pre-hydrate. Drink lots of water before they go outside," she said.

Tony Onofrio, vice president of Jack Onofrio Dog Shows in Oklahoma City, said he gives frequent breaks to employees who load trucks and trailers for the shows the company manages.

Temperatures have been the hottest in northeastern Oklahoma, where a high pressure system has been located. They were expected to remain above 100 degrees through Friday - though weekend showers were possible to provide some relief, said meteorologist Amy Jankowski with the National Weather Service in Tulsa.

Preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the statewide average temperature for July was 85.9 degrees, 4.3 degrees above normal. The best relief from the heat, sustained rainfall, is not likely in August, typically the driest month of the year, McManus said.

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report showed parts of northwestern Oklahoma in exceptional drought, most of the western one-third of the state, the Panhandle and most of eastern Oklahoma in extreme drought, and much of the remainder of the state in severe drought. The monitor is updated each Thursday.

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