The August 2010 Heat Wave - Updated With Rankings!

The heat wave of August 2010 finally came to an end during the evening hours of August 14th as a cold front swept into the  Lower Missouri River Valley.  Except for a couple days of "near normal" conditions during the first week of the month, excessively warm temperatures and humidity levels remained in the area for an extended amount of time. 

The impacts from this heat wave echoed far and near due to the expansive nature of the warm conditions across the United States.  At one point in time during the past week, at least 39 National Weather Service forecast offices (or 1/3 of all offices in the country) had issued heat related advisories/warnings.  These heat products stretched all the way from the Gulf of Mexico, to as far north as Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN! 

Unfortunately, this excessive heat lead to problems with the nations infrastructure, including numerous water main breaks in the Kansas City Metropolitian area, and even at one point a water boil order in Grundy county, MO due to struggling treatment facilities. In Kansas City, water department officials noted that there had been a 7% increase in water main breaks over the same August period last year.  

This heat wave also had a profound impact on our society as schools, organizations, churches and outdoor events had to modify plans to safeguard those participating or attending.  Sadly, this heat wave has also led to 8 suspected heat related deaths in the Kansas City metro along with likely hundreds of injuries.

Lastly, this heat wave also allowed for the development of severe thunderstorms, as several heat driven thunderstorms produced damaging microbursts in portions of Lees Summit as well as in the northland of the Kansas City metro.  Once such microburst led to the destruction of one of the oldest trees in the state of Missouri near Claycomo.  The estimated 300-500 year old tree was blown over by 80 mph winds.

The charts below represent daily high temperatures and peak hourly heat index readings from several observation sites across eastern Kansas and western Missouri.  While no daily temperature records were set in the area, extreme heat index readings (as high as 115 to 120 degrees at times) were a direct result of the copious amounts of moisture and humidity in the region. 


Kansas City International Kansas City Downtown St. Joseph, MO
Olathe Johnson County Olathe New Century Lees Summit, MO
Chillicothe, MO Kirksville, MO Sedalia, MO

 


 Historical Perspective:


The August 2010 heat wave, while intense, was not considered to be one of the longest or even hottest heat waves in Kansas City history. There were however a few unique statistics for Kansas City.  On August 8th the Kansas City International Airport reached 100 degrees.  This was the first 100 degree reading since August 2007.  Additionally, on August 14th the high temperature climbed to 103 degrees.  The last time we reached 103 degrees in Kansas City was August 9, 2006.  In terms of August temperatures though, the first 14 days of August 2010 ranked as the 7th warmest in history with an average temperature of 85.2 degrees.  The average high temperature in Kansas City was 95.8 degrees while the average low temperature was 74.6 degrees. 

 

Top 10 Daily High Temperature (Aug 1-14) Top 10 Daily AverageTemperatures (Aug 1-14) Top 10 Daily  Low Temperatures (Aug 1-14)
Rank  Value  Ending Date
1 105.6 8/14/1934
2 99.1 8/14/1918
3 98.6 8/14/1947
4 98.3 8/14/1913
5 98.2 8/14/1938
6 97.1 8/14/1936,1935
8 96.2 8/14/2007
9 95.8 8/14/2010
10 95.3 8/14/2006
Rank  Value  Ending Date
1 92.0 8/14/1934
2 87.9 8/14/1918
3 87.5 8/14/1913,1947
5 86.2 8/14/1938
6 85.6 8/14/1935
7 85.2 8/14/2010
8 84.8 8/14/2007
9 84.5 8/14/1937
10 84.2 8/14/2006,1930
Rank  Value  Ending Date
1 78.5 8/14/1934
2 76.8 8/14/1918
3 76.7 8/14/1913
4 76.4 8/14/1947
5 75.5 8/14/1943
6 74.6 8/14/2010, 1958
8 74.4 8/14/1930
9 74.2 8/14/1938
10 74.0 8/14/1935

Collectively, while warm, the past 14 days of hot August temperatures does not rank as high on the all-time heat records as one would think. By the numbers, taking a look at consecutive 90 degree day records reveals that the longest current streak of 90+ degree days (ending August 15th) ranks as the 33rd most days in history.  It should be noted however, that since July 13th, there have only been 2 days where the high temperature remained below 90 degrees!  Throwing those 2 days out would place the past month as one of the most sustained above normal warm spells in recorded history. 

Streaking Temperatures Since July 13th

While this heat wave produced 3 days of 100 degree temperatures at Kansas City International, while close, none of these days were consecutive in nature.  It should be noted that much of the extreme heat felt in the early to middle 1930s was much different than the extreme heat felt in the past month as ground moisture conditions were much more favorable for extreme heat, but much lower humidity. 

Also of interest this summer has been the amount of low temperatures which have remained above their seasonal normals.  There has only been one time since July 13th that the low temperature has fallen to the normal overnight low.  The current streak of 20 consecutive days of 70+ degree low temperatures ranks as the 10th longest all time.  Factor out the one day on July 25 that the low temperatures fell to 69 degrees, and this would be the 2nd longest streak of above normal low temperatures in history!

Consecutive Days of 90+ High Temps Consecutive Days of 95+ High Temps Consecutive Days of 100+ High Temps Consecutive Days of 70+ Low Temps
Rank  # Days   End Date
1 39 8/15/1934
2 38 7/27/1901
3 31 8/12/1935
4 29 7/29/1936
5 21 8/23/2007
6 21 8/28/1936
7 20 8/ 5/1940
8 20 8/21/1913
9 19 8/ 4/1953
10 19 8/13/1947
33 13 8/14/2010
 
Rank  # Days   End Date
1 20 8/27/1936
2 19 7/26/1934
3 18 7/25/1901
4 17 7/20/1980
5 17 7/19/1936
6 16 8/15/1934
7 13 8/16/2007
8 13 8/13/1947
9 13 8/16/1913
10 13 7/ 4/1901
46 6 8/13/2010
Rank  # Days   End Date
1 16 8/27/1936
2 14 7/25/1934
3 13 7/19/1936
4 9 8/12/1934
5 8 8/ 2/1935
6 7 7/17/1939
7 7 7/25/1901
8 6 8/21/2003
9 6 6/25/1988
10 6 7/11/1980
Rank  # Days   End Date
1 38 9/ 1/1947
2 29 8/12/1935
3 27 8/ 2/1901
4 25 7/27/1969
5 24 7/20/1966
6 23 7/27/1923
7 22 8/ 6/2001
8 21 8/ 7/1955
9 21 8/11/1916
10 20 8/14/2010

 



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