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Hot enough for you' It's normal

Unlike some places, the valley's no stranger to 100-degree days

If you arrived in the Rogue Valley only recently &

8212; say, in the past five or 10 years &

8212; you may think our recent string of triple-digit temperatures was out of the ordinary.

Trust us. It wasn't.

As Mail Tribune reporter Bill Kettler explained in last Thursday's paper, scorching heat in the summer is rather more the rule than the exception here.

That's not to say that the massive heat wave now making its way across the Midwest and into the Northeast &

8212; and the scorching temperatures plaguing Europe at the same time &

8212; is normal. Triple digits in L.A. are, let's face it, unusual. Ditto for 100-plus readings in Wilmington, N.C., or the fact that 20 states have reported temperatures topping 100 degrees this summer.

But here in Southern Oregon, it's par for the course. So far this year, we've had nine days of 100-plus heat. Big deal. In 1996, there were 21 triple-digit days. In 1990, 23. And in 1967, 1970, '72 and '73, there were 21, 19, 22 and 20, respectively.

And even though we haven't had a large number of days above 100 in the past decade, it's still been plenty warm. In 2001, the National Weather Service recorded 66 days of 90 degrees or higher. In 2003, the mercury topped 90 on 68 days.

That's why you won't see folks get hysterical here when the sidewalks reach broiling temperature by 10 a.m. Oh, sure, they'll complain. Everybody complains about the weather. But we don't get carried away.

Sure, everyone's mighty glad it's back in the 80s this week, and noticeably cool at night, too. But we're realists. It's only Aug. 1. Past experience and Weather Service statistics say the temperature can soar again into mid-August, and have been known to top 100 well into September.

So enjoy the balmy weather this week, but don't assume the worst is over.

If you're new to the area, and maybe a bit surprised that the climate isn't quite what you expected, welcome. And we hope you have air conditioning.