A surprising and record-breaking heat wave across southwestern Connecticut began six years ago today, resulting in the only Spring heat wave on record. The mercury climbed to 90 degrees on Sunday afternoon, June 8, 2008, beginning a three-day stretch of oppressive heat which resulted in the early dismissal and closing of area schools the following two days.
The normal high and low temperatures for June 8 through 10 are 75 and 58 degrees, respectively. However, high pressure anchored off the Atlantic coast helped push temperatures close to 100 degrees June 9 and 10. Although the June 8 high temperature of 90 degrees was three degrees shy of the 93-degree record set in 1999, the highs of 97 and 96 degrees the following two days were both records for the date. The overnight lows hovered close to 70 degrees each morning.
The 97-degree temperature on June 9, 2008, is the warmest ever on record for June and matched the warmest-ever Spring day (May 20, 1996) at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford. The 96-degree reading the following day marked only the fourth time the mercury soared that high in June. Other than the previous day, the only other times the temperature reached 96 degrees during the month happened on June 19, 1994, and June 26, 1949.
I received notification from my hometown’s public school system informing me of the early school dismissal on Monday morning, June 9, 2008. “Due to the Heat Advisory, all public and parochial schools will close early. The buses will pick up the high school students at 12:10 p.m.; middle school students at 12:40 p.m.; elementary school children at 1:40 p.m. The P.M. PreKindergarten session is cancelled for today. Please refrain from calling the schools.” That was certainly a shocker.
Whenever the weather became oppressively hot and humid when I went to school, it was time to slow down the pace. Teachers would open the windows, close the shades, show a movie or two, and we’d visit the water fountain every 15 minutes or so. Lunch period and recess were even extended. Somehow, we survived. Sure, it was hot, but we were more excited about not having to do schoolwork rather than being bothered by the heat.
I suppose each generation has its own stories to spin. After all, we had to listen to the the exaggerated stories of our parents telling us they walked barefoot several miles to and from school uphill in four feet of snow “back in the day.” Life, it seemed, was always more difficult for previous generations. As for me, I walked to and from school in 100-degree weather without cell phones, iPods, or ‘Smoothies.’ We didn’t even break a sweat. And it never bothered us one bit!