You’re right: It is the hottest you can remember.
July in Cincinnati is supposed to be hot, but this one sets up as the fifth-hottest on record and the hottest since 1936. (OK, maybe some readers can remember that, but 2012, to date, is the hottest year overall since 1880.)
It’s the hottest Bob Burke can remember, and he’s been delivering the mail in Cincinnati for three decades. Along his route, the weather is all anybody wants to talk about.
People offer him water and ask him if he is hot. They mean it in a nice way.
Last week, a woman in Mount Adams asked him when he was going to retire. “I told her maybe when I got to the top of this hill,” Burke said.
“It’s hot. Unprecedented. I’ve been doing this for 31 years, and this is the worst it’s ever been. We’ve had stretches before, but now it is just all the time.”
If today hits 90 degrees – and it almost certainly will – 22 days this month will have exceeded 90. Four of them hit triple digits.
For the year, the National Weather Service says, 2012 to date has been the second warmest since it started keeping records in 1872.
The average temperature so far this year is 58.1 degrees. That number is derived by taking the high and the low from each day, adding them together and dividing by two. The yearly average includes all those numbers.
An average temperature of 58.1 might not sound like much, but it includes all the lows of January and February. The only year it was ever warmer at this point was 1880.
The other years in the top five: 1878, 1921 and 1876.
Kevin Brunsman’s skin confirms the statistics. Brunsman, 46, has been working with plants, and in greenhouses, since he was 13 years old, but he can’t remember a summer like this one.
“Most years, I don’t even turn on the air conditioning in my truck because I get used to it,” Brunsman said. “I like it hot. But this year, it’s cranked.”
Four days a week, Brunsman fills up a 250-gallon tank in the back of his pickup truck and waters plants for The Plant Detail, a commercial venture that cares for interior and exterior plants. He uses about 2.5 tankfuls a day.
He says the plants are thirsty and even bushes are struggling because they didn’t get much snowmelt this winter.
July has been hot primarily because of a ridge of high pressure over much of the Ohio Valley, creating a bubble of hot air. “That pressure system has been persistent,” said Mike Kurz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office. “There is no denying it, it has been warm.”
Highs through Sunday will climb into the 90s, according to the weather service.
Jonathan Cody will be ready. He has been standing outside the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza on Fifth Street Downtown as a doorman and greeter for 18 years. He will drink five to six bottles of water each shift.
He has noticed it is getting warmer but says he still prefers a shift in the summer to one in the winter, where hours of standing in the cold just gathers in his bones. Still, the thought of being chilly appealed to him on Monday.
“When it’s hot like this,” Cody said, “there’s no place like the great indoors.”