The U.S. is sweltering. The heat wave of 1936 was far deadlier.

September 05, 2022

The country and much of the world are currently baking in a brutal heat wave. The North American heat wave of 1936 followed one of the coldest recorded winters in the same area. As documented in “The 1936 North American Heat Wave: The History of America’s Deadly Heat Wave during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression,” temperatures began to climb rapidly in March, with rainfall becoming scarce. The Illinois State Journal declared in a July 8 headline, “Heat wave scorches Midwest: many die.”“We had fans,” recalled 88-year-old Columbus resident Louise Sager in 2016 when speaking to NBC4 on the 80th anniversary of the heat wave. If the conditions of the 1936 heat wave were to take place now, the result would likely be far more severe.