One of the most common expressions heard here in Louisville during the months of July and August is “ugh it’s hot!” This summer has certainly been no exception with frequent heat advisories and warnings. It tends to make you wonder, “Is it always this hot?” I happen to have a slight fascination with weather and when I wanted to know about general weather history in Louisville I knew exactly where to look: The Encyclopedia of Louisville. In fact, as a reference librarian, this book is definitely my best friend! Sure enough, The Encyclopedia of Louisville contains an entry on weather in Louisville written by none other than the highly respected (and recently retired) Wave 3 Meteorologist, Tom Wills.
According to Wills, the record high temperature for Louisville is 107 degrees, and we have reached that temperature three times; in 1901, 1930, and 1936. While we have yet to reach temperatures this high so far, this summer and last summer have been consistently hotter than past years overall. For example, Wills says a typical summer in Louisville has 29 days when temperatures reach 90 degrees or above. This summer we have already had 31 days meet that criteria and we haven’t even hit August yet! However, we could consider ourselves lucky when thinking about the four years in the 1950s that produced 70 or more days of 90 degree temperatures.
Wills’s entry also contains information about Louisville’s general climate as well as the other individual seasons. Louisville’s continental climate, for instance, is characterized by large temperature differences between different seasons. Consequently, the record low for Louisville is minus 32 degrees in January of 1994. It is almost hard to imagine the way that would feel right now! Fortunately, the Filson Historical Society library is quite literally a cool place to be during the dog days of summer in Louisville.