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2022 heat wave has people reminiscing about the iconic 'I Survived the 1980 Texas Heat Wave' shirt

"You'd walk outside and it was like an assault on your entire being," said former WFAA weather anchor Steve Newman.

DALLAS — Stephen Harris spent more than four decades as a journalist with the Dallas Morning News as the assistant metro editor and general assignment editor. 

He and his colleagues had to come up with daily story ideas to fill the "1-A" section of the paper. 

But it's another idea he once had that is still making waves.

"This reminds me of 1980," Harris said from his front driveway on a recent 103-degree day.

Back in 1980, Stephen Harris and a colleague came up with an idea to make a T-shirt a couple of weeks into a historic -- and terrible -- heat wave.

"We decided let's have some fun and make a little money," Harris said.

Together, they brainstormed the concept and had someone draw up their idea to make their now-iconic "I survived the 1980 Texas Heat Wave" shirt. 

It is a yellow shirt with a map of Texas outlined in red. 

"I remember that t-shirt," said Steve Newman, who was a weather anchor with WFAA in 1980. "I wish I kept it!"

Newman remembers 1980 very well.

"You'd walk outside, and it was like an assault on your entire being," said Newman.

North Texas had sweated through 42 straight days over 100 degrees that summer, including a blistering 113-degree day that is still the highest-recorded temperature the region's ever seen. 

That year also holds the record for the most days over 100 degrees -- a full 69 days.

Harris recalls selling the shirt for $5, and making it for $1. His colleague John Sharkey even drove up to SMU to sell the shirts to students one blistering day.

"We probably sold a few hundred, and made a couple thousand [dollars] each," said Harris.

In the midst of our own heat wave in 2022 different versions of that 1980 shirt are still being sold.

"We should have said, 'I suffered through the 1980 Texas Heat Wave," laughed Harris.

Stephen and a colleague took a message so timely, and made a shirt so timeless. 

So how does Harris think the heat from 42 years ago compares to now?

"Check back in a couple weeks and I'll have an answer for that," he said.

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