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You can breathe a sigh of relief as you wipe that sweat off your brow — we're nearing the end of what will likely the hottest August ever recorded in Boston.

The average daily temperature here was 76.6 degrees through Sunday, according to National Weather Service data.

Sure, there's still three days left before the month ends, but the forecast for each remaining day calls for enough warmth for this August to set a new record by a relatively wide margin.

If the current forecast holds through Wednesday, the average daily temperature for the month will be 76.5.

The next hottest August ever was in 1988, when the average daily temperature measured 75.5 degrees.

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In fact, Boston has only endured 10 months in which the average temperature was 76 or higher (all of them were the month of July, which has historically been the warmest month of the year), according to records that date back to 1872. The warmest was July 1982, when the mercury averaged 78 degrees.

The Globe recently reported that this meteorological summer — defined as June through August — will go down as one of the hottest and driest ever for Boston.

The average daily temperature for the season through Sunday was 73.6, which would rank this season as the fifth hottest ever. The hottest ever was 74.1 degrees, a mark reached in both 1949 and 1983.

The hottest stretch this year came in late July, when the high temperature measured at Logan International Airport in Boston reached 90 or more from July 21 through 26. That was part of a 16-day stretch that included 11 days when the temperature reached 90 or more. Other parts of the state may well have been even hotter than the airport cooled by Boston Harbor breezes.

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The hottest stretch in August came in the middle of the month, from Aug. 11 through Aug. 15, when the mercury reached 90 or more four out of the five days.

It's also been extremely dry.

Only 3.92 inches of rain have fallen on the city so far this meteorological summer, which would rank as the lowest total recorded if we don't get more rain by the end of Wednesday. The driest summer on record was in 1957, when only 3.97 inches of rain fell in Boston.

There's no rain in the Boston forecast until Wednesday night showers and thunderstorms.

Massachusetts is experiencing its worst drought in more than a decade, damaging crops, drying out rivers, taking a toll on wildlife, and keeping firefighters on high alert amid elevated risk of wildfires.

The drought has also prompted many communities to impose restrictions on outdoor water use, rules that some residents have skirted.

We have plenty of company when it comes to unusually hot weather.

July went down as the warmest month the world has collectively experienced in the 136 years scientists have been tracking global temperatures. And it marked the 10th straight month of record warmth, putting 2016 on track to be the hottest year ever recorded globally, the Globe reported this month.

Climate specialists said the pattern is an unmistakable sign of human-caused global warming.


Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele

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