Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 7, 2007

Bluefield flirting with 90-degree mark early

BLUEFIELD — Nature’s Air-conditioned City is sweating a bit early this year.

The mercury climbed to 88 degrees Thursday at the Mercer County Airport — briefly flirting with the possibility of hitting 90 degrees — which would have been a modern record for Bluefield. The mercury could make another run at the 90 degree mark today.

“We are going to get close again (today),” Jeff Stewart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said. “I think our expected high for (today) is about 88 degrees.”

Stewart said the record high for today in Bluefield is 86 degrees, which was set in 1984.

“So I think we are going to break it,” Stewart said. “Then I think we will cool off after that. We will cool off and it will be a nice weekend. It looks like the low 80s for Saturday and maybe the upper 70s for Sunday.”

In terms of recent history, the last time the mercury hit 90 in Bluefield in early June was June 23 of 1988, Marc Meachum, chief executive officer and president of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, said.

“We’ve got actual dates as far back as 1977,” Meachum said. “The earliest we had it from the last 30 years was June 23, 1988. That is the year we served it (lemonade) 17 times. Obviously, in the modern era that is by far the most.”

Meachum said officials were keeping a close eye on the thermometer Thursday, and were prepared to serve free lemonade in the event that the mercury topped 90. A new record high was set Thursday for Bluefield at 88 degrees. The previous record was 87 degrees set in 1984. Meachum said the chamber will continue to monitor the mercury today.

“It’s pretty early, but we are talking about it,” Meachum said. “We can mobilize with very short notice.”

Meachum said the chamber started using the thermometer at the Mercer County Airport in 1977. However, based upon early chamber records, the mercury hit 90 degrees in Bluefield 24 times in the year 1952, Meachum said.

“That’s the old Bluefield city records,” Meachum said. “The official airport readings began in 1959.”

– Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com







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