CLINTON — For the first time in 60 years, temperature records in the Clinton area have been broken two days in a row in the month of September, disrupting classes and activities for some Clinton students.
Spiking nearly 20 degrees higher than average, the area's 98-degree high Monday broke the 97-degree record set in 1912 and 1933. Tuesday temperatures also reached sweltering levels, hitting 97 degrees and breaking the 96- degree record set in 1931.
The last time temperature records were broken on two consecutive days in September was on Sept. 28 and 29, 1953 when temperatures reached 92 and 96, respectively.
Not only is breaking records two days in a row unusual, but the height that temperatures reached also is remarkable, official weather observer Jim Blaess said. The last time the temperature hit 98 in September was on Sept. 7, 1985.
"It's not that often we get temperatures that high, let alone set a record," Blaess said.
Washington and Lyons middle schools have been dismissed early six times this year due to the heat, an unheard of number, according to Superintendent Deb Olson.
"This has been a really unusual year," Olson said. "Obviously we want kids in school, but the good thing about letting kids out early is that it helps them focus in the morning because they know there is some relief coming."
While the district's other schools are mostly air conditioned, the middle schools are not, causing Olson to let those students escape their hot schools by 1 p.m.
It's not an exact science, but Olson considers the temperature as well as how hot the buildings might be because of the previous day's heat before choosing an early dismissal and letting parents and others know.
"It's really about the student safety aspect," Olson said. "Parents give us their children to keep them safe. So when we make the decision, students' safety is number one."