Record countdown for the endless summer

It is no longer a question of whether this will be Philadelphia's hottest summer; it's just a matter of degrees.

Through yesterday, the official average temperature at Philadelphia International Airport since June 1 stood at 80.1.

Since record-keeping began in 1874, the reigning warm king for the June 1-Aug. 31 meteorological summer is 1995, which finished at 78.6.

Barring a premature Arctic outbreak, that record is toast. For 2010 to finish second, temperatures for the rest of the month, starting today, would have to average a cool 68.2. That's not happening.

It hit 93 this afternoon, reaching 90 for the 45th time this summer, just eight 90-plus days behind the all-time champ, 1991. After a warm night it looks as though today's average temperature is gonig to weigh in around 83.

No extreme heat is in the forecast but temperatures are expected to reach well into the 80s through next Friday, with daytime averages in the mid and upper 70s. That should seal the deal.

Yes, it has been relentlessly hot around here, but nothing compared to what has happened in Russia. In a land legendary for its winters, unprecedented heat may have contributed to 15,000 deaths or more.