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Weather Talk: Temperature hit 100 April 21, 1980

Really hot weather in Fargo Moorhead is usually limited to a few days in the middle of summer. 

True scorchers, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees, happen only about once every few years or so, and usually at the height of a dry summer. All but five of the 100 degree days on record since 1881 have happened between June 12 and Aug. 31.

Of the remaining five, three happened during September (in 1931, 1936, and 1959), one was on May 30 (1934), but the most unusual happened on today’s date in 1980.  It had been a very warm, dry spring throughout the Northern Plains. Soils were dry and easily heated. Then on April 21, very dry air at the surface combined with downward-moving air from high pressure in the upper atmosphere caused the air to heat up by compression. The result was a 100 degree temperature; unusually hot for so early in the year.

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