1980 brought the United States one of the worst heat waves in its history. The intense heat and drought wreaked havoc on much of the Midwestern states and Southern plains throughout the summer of 1980. It is among the most devastating natural disasters in terms of deaths and destruction in U.S. history, claiming at least 1,700 lives and because of the massive drought, agricultural damage reached $20 billion or almost $65 billion in 2021 dollars. It is among the billion-dollar weather disasters listed by the US government. The heat wave began in June when a strong high-pressure area began to build in the central and southern United States allowing temperatures to soar to 90 degrees almost every day from June to September. The high-pressure system also acted as a cap on the atmosphere, stopping the development of thunderstorms, leading to exceptionally severe drought conditions. The heat wave broke only when the decaying Hurricane Allen disrupted the weather pattern. In some areas the spring got a jump start on what was to come. On April 22, 1980. The mercury reached 100 degrees in Waterloo, Iowa the highest temperature ever recorded in the state of Iowa in the month of April.
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