Summer of 1954
My overall point, though, is that so far the summer of 2016 has not been an extremely hot one. At least not when you compare it to the hottest summer on record, which was 1954. During that summer, Springfield had thirteen days on which the thermometer reached triple digits. Joplin, located seventy miles to the west and nearer the Great Plains, where temperatures are almost always somewhat hotter than they are in the Ozarks, recorded an astounding thirty-nine days on which the temperature topped 100. Eighteen of those days happened in July, including twelve straight days from July 11 through July 21. During that span, the temperature reached 114 on July 14, the hottest temperature on record for Joplin. Springfield had an all-time record high of 113 the same day. Rolla topped out on July 14 at 109 or 113 (depending on the source), and the mercury there reached triple digits a total of ten times during the summer of 1954.
I vaguely recall the intense heat of the summer of 1954, when I would have been seven years old. Actually, I don't recall the specific year. I only recall that during a couple of the summers of my childhood, when I was growing up in the Springfield area, it was extremely hot. It has been only during my adulthood, after I read or was told that 1953 and 1954 were unusually hot summers, that I've concluded those must have been the years I remember as being very hot. We didn't have air conditioning, either, back in those days, but somehow the heat didn't bother me much. I'd hate to be without air conditioning this summer, even though it hasn’t been one of the hottest summers on record thus far. I think it would bother me a lot, but, of course, I'm not seven anymore. Temperature extremes don't seem to bother kids the way they do adults, especially older adults like me. At least they didn't bother me and my childhood friends when we had important things to do like playing baseball or going fishing.
I should probably add that, by pointing out that the hottest summer in the Ozarks occurred over sixty years ago, I am not trying to deny that the earth is getting warmer overall. The trend of year-round temperatures for the whole globe is definitely upward. Of the sixteen hottest years on record for worldwide average temperature, all but one of them have occurred since 2001. So, global warming is definitely real.
It’s just that the summer of 1954 happened to be abnormally hot in this little part of the world.