Tourists Karen Oberholtzer (from left) Danette Martin and Brenda Crisp beat the heat along the Ohio River by enjoying a cool snack under shade trees at Chillbilly Treats on Vaughn Drive. The women, from northern Indiana and Greenville Ohio, were returning from a trip to Kentucky and stopped to eat ice cream and riverwatch. (Courier staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Tourists Karen Oberholtzer (from left) Danette Martin and Brenda Crisp beat the heat along the Ohio River by enjoying a cool snack under shade trees at Chillbilly Treats on Vaughn Drive. The women, from northern Indiana and Greenville Ohio, were returning from a trip to Kentucky and stopped to eat ice cream and riverwatch. (Courier staff photos by Mark Campbell)
The calendar may say autumn but Courierarea thermometers are screaming red-hot summer as Madison and surrounding communities have endured six consecutive days of record-breaking heat to close out September and begin October.

The temperature in Madison hit a high of 93 degrees on three of the last four days — the “coolest” high on Monday was 91 — with humidity making it feel more like 96.

However, some relief could arrive starting Thursday when a cold front is forecast by afternoon and evening. Temperatures are expected to max out in the low 90s Thursday and then see more fall-like highs in the 70s by Friday. The weather will warm back up with highs in the low 80s Saturday before a second cold front hits the region Sunday and Monday.

While temperatures will see some relief by Thursday, dry conditions will not. Only isolated showers are forecast before the weekend cold front is expected to deliver some much-needed showers.

After more than a month of hot, dry weather, the entire Courierarea is currently under a ban on outside burning. Plants are shedding their leaves and fields and yards are dry and brittle. Those conditions are not likely to improve — or the burn ban be lifted — until the area receives substantial moisture in the form of a soaking rainfall.

Football homecoming is Saturday at Hanover College — one of the biggest tailgate parties of the year there — and the ban on outdoor burning will mean no open fires or fireworks.

Although there was a big crowd in downtown Madison for last weekend’s Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art and Old Court Days, foot traffic on Tuesday and Wednesday, when record highs were felt, left sidewalks almost empty. Those who were out sought shade and other ways to stay cool and those who had to work in the conditions toughed it out by trying to stay hydrated and taking more breaks.