Hurricanes and record heat

Danielle and Earl are fomenting the Atlantic and they are generating frightening images, but for Jersey and the rest of the Philadelphia region, for now though the week's main event is that summer of 2010 leitmotif -- heat.

Danielle looks to flame out in the far North Atlantic like a disintegrating comet, and Earl is expected to make a right turn before it reaches the coast.

It certainly is a threat to adventurous surfers and perhaps the lip muscles of whistle-blowing lifeguards, but it's a longshot to reach the Jersey coast.

The heat, however, is for real, and the summer of 2010 is going to become the hottest on record in Philadelphia by such a margin they may have to retire the award.

Based on the forecast, the official average temperature for the June 1 to Aug. 31 period will be right around 79.6. That's a full degree warmer than the old record, set in 1995.

A full degree is a huge margin, in a league with this winter's smashing of the old snowfall record by more than a foot. Consider that the summer of 1995 edged 1994 by 0.3, which was only 0.1 warmer than 1993.

In 138 degrees of record-keeping, 1 degree is by far the biggest difference between any one year and the next-warmest one.   

The high today so far at Philadelphia International Airport is 95, making this the 47th day this year with temperatures of 90 or better. The record is 53, set in 1991.

What has been most impressive about this heat this year has been the persistence. Sunday broke a stretch of eight straight days in which the official high had fallen short of 90, the longest streak of the summer.

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