Springfield is lush and green from all that spring rain — 26.24 inches since January 1.
And all that moisture in the ground and transpiring from grass and tree leaves might keep an unusual Springfield streak going.
Springfield hasn’t officially cracked 100 degrees since Aug. 25, 2014, when the thermometer at the National Weather Service office at the Springfield-Branson National Airport hit 101 degrees.
“We don’t see that likely any time soon,” said senior meteorologist Doug Cramer. “We could hit 100 degrees in any summer. But we see that when our vegetation is really green it’s hard to hit 100.”
Springfield so far is 5.54 inches ahead of normal precipitation for this time in June. Area lakes are full and pastures are green.
Cramer said water evaporating from the ground and transpiring into the air out of plants makes it harder for the atmosphere to warm up.
Springfield isn’t in any kind of drought condition, like the deep summertime drought in 2012 that led to multiple days above 100 degrees and a 106-degree reading on August 4, 2012.
“Drought definitely fed the temperature beast that year,” Cramer said. “We did get reports of hay yields being down, people selling their cattle, ponds drying up and lakes getting low. There was even a small percentage of mature trees that died that year.”
But 106 degrees in 2012 isn’t even close to Springfield’s all-time hottest recorded temperature. That happened on July 14, 1954, when the mercury reached a searing 113 degrees.
There were a string of 100-degree days in 1934 — the start of the Midwest Dust Bowl years — that also yielded Springfield’s highest low overnight temperature of 84 degrees. That hot night made for uncomfortable sleeping at a time when air conditioning was not a common household amenity.
While the current heat wave moves east, Cramer said the outlook for rain is fairly minimal in the coming weeks.
“There’s not much opportunity, though the chances aren’t zero,” he said. “The best signal the models are seeing for rain in the next couple of weeks will be June 25 and 26.”
Springfield is no stranger to wide temperature extremes. While the hottest was 113 degrees in 1954, the coldest Springfield ever recorded was 29 below zero on Feb. 12, 1899.
The winter of 2021 also yielded Springfield’s third-coldest temperature reading — 15 below zero on Feb. 16, 2021.