Oostburg man compares current heat wave to extreme heat during Dust Bowl
WTMJ News Team
Shelley Walcott reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
OOSTBURG- This weeks conditions are reminding people of a deadly heat wave 17 years ago.
There were more than 80 heat-related deaths in July of 1995 in the Milwaukee area.
One local man remembers the heat waves, back in the day before air conditioners.
At 89-years-old, Ralph Demaster vividly remembers the Dust Bowls of the 1930's.
"'33 and '34, '35 was probably the worst," recalled Ralph.
Triple digit temps dried topsoil in the plains -- creating dust clouds that blew through Wisconsin.
"We still had the dust blowing over... They said actually it blew all the way to the East Coast," said Ralph.
And despite the dust, he says people still slept outdoors to escape the extreme heat.
"People were sleeping out on the lawn... And nobody had air conditioning and very few had fans so it got pretty hot," described Ralph.
It reminds him of the last major heat wave in 1995 that led to hundreds of deaths in the Midwest.
The lack of widespread media made recording deaths during the Dust Bowl more difficult. But people, like Ralph, who were there remember and have lots of stories to share with people complaining about this week's extreme heat.
And the Demasters told TODAY'S TMJ4 they have been just fine during this week's heat wave -- although they are grateful for their air conditioning.