On July 14, 1954, weatherman C. C. Williford is quoted in the Springfield Leader, "If man, beast and bird can survive the day, they've got it whipped." The official temperature taken at the Springfield Municipal Airport that day was 113 degrees. Williford did predict cooler temperatures for the following day with the high expected to stay in the "cool, cool 90s." According to Local Climatological Data, prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July 15 reached a high of 103 degrees followed by 107 on July 17 and 108 on July 18. The month of August saw some cooling with only eight days in the month that reached 100 degrees or higher. Even September of 1954 had three days at 100 degrees.
Because of the heat, many outdoor activities, such as baseball, softball and golf were cancelled. Low voltage in scattered areas caused refrigerators, air conditioners and some television sets to function improperly.
Surprisingly, water consumption did not increase very much. McDaniel Lake reservoir was three-eighths full. A spokesman for the Springfield City Water Company said "We have enough to see us through if people don't become panicky."
Near the end of September Mrs. William Mensendick, who lived on South Hampton, was cited for illegal use of water and had to appear in municipal court. Mrs. Mensendick would use her wash water to succor her plants but that Monday decided not to do her wash. She stated that she used about half of the water she would have normally used in the wash. She said that most of her prize-winning flowers had been spaded up because of the drought, except an eight-to-ten-foot cockscomb that seemed to love the drought and some deep pink bachelor's-buttons that she was hoping to keep blooming for the Sorosis Garden Department's free show in October.
The Local Climatalogical Data is available at the Library Center. Early data is available on microfiche from August 1949 through 1982. It is in paper form from 1983 to May 2011.
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