The highest temperature ever recorded in New Jersey was 110 degrees in July of 1936, in the midst of a heat wave that gripped almost the entire continent. The mark was set in Runyon in Middlesex County. New Jersey was one of several states to hit their all-time high temperature that month (some of which were broken in 2012- but not New Jersey’s); in North Dakota it reached 121 degrees and in Chicago, they had eight straight days over 100 degrees.

According to the Old Farmers Almanac, Kansas City, MO had 53 separate days over 100 degrees that summer. In the US alone, there were an estimated 5,000 heat related deaths; in Canada, there were 1,200. The heat wave struck in the middle of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl summers and it caused millions of dollars in lost crops due to the drought. This was before air conditioning was popular and urban centers of high density were particularly hard hit with heat related deaths.