1980 US Heat Wave

1980 US Heat Wave

June-September 1980:

Beginning in June and stretching until mid-September, the 1980 US Heat Wave was a period of intense heat and drought that plagued the central and eastern United States. Many states suffered through record-breaking heat, with Memphis, TN experiencing a 15-day stretch of temperatures over 100°F. Crops were damaged in the heat and livestock stressed, and it is among the most devastating natural disasters in terms of deaths and destruction in U.S. history. —(NOAA)


  • Estimated 10,000 direct and indirect heat-related fatalities
  • Approximately $20 billion in agricultural damage  (1980 USD) ($59 billion in 2017 USD)

Related Resources:

In Focus: (NOAA) Map of drought conditions in the contiguous U.S. in July 1980

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