"At the Cathedral, a special Novena is to be held for rain. At 6 o'clock in the evening for nine days the beads will be said followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. In vew of the urgency of the need a large attendance is anticipated."
To add even more to the chances of needed rain, Father Teurlings made another announcement: "[There will be a] picnic for Children of St. Mary [on] Sunday 3rd at 10 a.m. … It will surely rain."
It did not rain on that Sunday, or the next, or the next, or again until late September.
The good pastor's invocations came in the midst of what may have been Acadiana's worst summer ever.
In July 1924 at Lafayette, the high temperature reached 92 degrees on the afternoon of August 7 and did not drop below 90 degrees again until September 1, when the thermometer topped out at 88. It climbed back to 97 on September 2, fell to 89 on September 3, then back above 90 on the 4th and every day thereafter except one until a tiny rainfall finally cooled thrings off on September 22.
From July 7 through August 30 there were 56 consecutive days when the high for the day was above 90 degrees, 36 of those days with temperatures above 97 and 11 days when it reached 100 or more. During that period the temperature reached 103 degrees twice, on July 21 and August 24, and the high for the day reached 99 or above 10 times in the 13 days from August 15 to August 27.
For the 92 days from July 1 through September 30, 1924, there were only 13 days when the mercury failed to break 90, most of them in early July and late September. The hot weather finally broke on the last two days of September, when high temperatures dipped into the 70s.
But the problem was not over.
From September 23 to November 14, a stretch of 53 days, not a drop of rain fell on Lafayette, the city's longest dry spell ever.
The next summer, 1925, proved almost as memorable. From August 7 through August 23, the high temperature reached 95 or better, including temperatures of 102 and 103 degrees on the 20th and 21st, respectively. The changing of the calendar to September didn't bring much relief. From September 5 through September 9, the temperature reached 98 degrees or better, including a 101-degree scorcher on September 6.
One of Lafayette's earliest in the year heat waves came in 1930, when the afternoon heated to 99 degrees on June 19 and reached 98 or better on every day but one until July 2. The high was 104 on June 16 and 106 on June 27, 1930.
August 1962 is the standout in more recent times. The afternoon high reached 97 on August 1 and climbed to 96 or higher every day until August 13. During that memorable stretch, the high temperature reached 100 degrees or more on five consecutive days, beginning with a blistering 103 on August 8.
According to records compiled from the official publication Climatological Data of the national weather service, the average temperature (combination of afternoon high and overnight low) for the three months of June, July, and August 1951 was 83.36 degrees, making that our steamiest summer ever. During the 103 days from June 1 through September 11, 1951, there were only 12 days when the high temperature fell below 90. That record year is followed by a three month-average of 83.30 in 1924, 83.10 in 1962, 83.03 in 1990, and 82.86 in 1902.
August 1951 was the warmest single month ever in Lafayette history, averaging 85.4 degrees. It was followed by July 1962 (84.8); August 1924 (84.6); August 1902 , July 1960, and August 1962 (84.5 each), and July 1986 (84.4).
The hottest single day in the city's history was July 13, 1901 (107 degrees), followed by June 27, 1930 (106), and June 26, 1930 and August 30, 2000 (104 each).
You can contact Jim Bradshaw at email@example.com or P.O. Box 1121, Washington LA 70589.