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No relief from the heat on the horizon

Temperatures may drop below 100 degrees early next week -- and a few rain clouds may form -- but the humidity is expected to remain so high that no one will probably notice.

The mercury is expected to climb to 98 or 99 degrees Tuesday, but it is too early to declare a cooling-off period, according to Dennis Cavanaugh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

"Even though the highs might only get into the upper 90s, it will still feel like it's above 100," Cavanaugh said. "With a weakening upper ridge, it's possible that a rain cloud might form, but this weather pattern is not favorable to rain. We really need a proper storm system through here to get a break from the heat."

Today is expected to be the fifth consecutive day of temperatures at 100 degrees or more. The scorching heat sent people flocking to neighborhood pools and water parks for relief.

The soaring temperatures have already been blamed for killing 200 to 300 fish in Lake Arlington after the Excelon power plant in East Fort Worth discharged water into the lake.

On Tuesday, the average temperature in the plant's discharge channel was 99 degrees, and the highest recorded temperature was 108 degrees, city spokeswoman Veronica Villegas said.

Fort Worth Parks Department workers were sent to remove the fish after they washed up on an island in the middle of the lake or drifted ashore near Eugene McCray Park.

Forecasters are calling for 11 straight days of 100-degree temperatures before the mercury dips Tuesday.

The average North Texas summer has 16 days of 100-degree weather, and so far we have had 10, Cavanaugh said. That will not begin to touch the record set in 1980, when 42 straight 100-degree days were recorded in the Metroplex.

In all, the area endured 69 days of triple-digit temperatures that year. Temperatures were 100 degrees or higher for the entire month of July, Cavanaugh said.

"That's not going to happen this year," he said.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

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