Meteorologists, who for record-keeping purposes consider June, July and August as their traditional summer months, called it the second-hottest summer on record, saying it fell just shy of the all-time sizzler of 1955.
And when humidity is taken into account, they said, this summer can claim the not-so-coveted title of the most uncomfortable.
"The data strongly suggest that when both temperature and atmospheric moisture are taken into consideration, the summer of 1995 was the worst on record," said National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Koeneman.
Relentless and oppressive, the heat also proved deadly. A mid-July heat wave claimed the lives of more than 500 people, many of them elderly.
This summer fell one-tenth of a degree short of becoming the hottest since the National Weather Service began keeping track 123 years ago. The average daily temperature this summer was 76.3 degrees, compared with 76.4 degrees in 1955. And no discussion of brutally hot summers can exclude the drought of 1988, when the high temperatures for each day averaged 87.3 degrees. This year's high temperatures ranked second, averaging 86.5 degrees.
Across the Chicago area, residents described how the heat had altered their routines, put them through misery and made them yearn for autumn. Some said they felt cheated at being stuck inside.
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