A look back at the excessive heat wave July 1926 and if we’ll set any record highs this weekend

Summer heat
Summer heat(whsv)
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 9:14 PM EDT
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On this date in 1926 the area was under one of the worst heat waves in terms of heat but certainly not the longest.

In mid to late July of 1926 there were several consecutive days at or above 100°.

For Dale Enterprise (4 miles west of Harrisonburg) 105° is the hottest temperature ever recorded. For our other weather stations the hottest high ever is in 1930.

DALE ENTERPRISE101°102°105°105°

According to newspaper reports there were no heat exhaustion issues, surprisingly but the newspaper did say that many complained it was “too hot to sleep.”

On the evening of July 22 there was a significant storm associated with a cold front that dropped 4.50″ of rain in Harrisonburg and led to some tree damage. So it’s safe to say those storms were at least severe in a few areas. The heavy rainfall led to flooding in some areas, some basements and businesses flooded.

Two newspaper headlines from July 22-23 in 1926
Two newspaper headlines from July 22-23 in 1926(Daily News Record)

This was likely a training line of storms (storms that move over the same area like a train on train tracks) or some sort of large cluster of storms.

The storm also was blamed for a lightning strike to a quarry, and that strike set off a stick of dynamite that killed five men in Strasburg.

After this storm highs were much more comfortable for the rest of July, 1926.


For the weekend of July 23-24, 2022 highs are forecast in the mid 90s. Some areas may even climb as high as the mid 90s while Petersburg and Moorefield, WV will likely be close to 100° both days.

Is this heat going to be record breaking? Here’s a look at the current records for several of our weather stations. Our forecast for the weekend is for highs in the mid 90s.

Saturday it would be possible to at least tie a record.

Most of the records from Sunday are over 100° and all of them from 1934. The only exception is Luray but for that weather station records only go as far back as 1941.

Current record highs for July 23-24
Current record highs for July 23-24(whsv)

While it is going to be a very hot weekend, the heat is not unusual especially for this time of the year.

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