...Review of This Week's Heat...

Unseasonably warm and humid conditions occurred across much of the central United States during the first 5 days of August.  Many areas, including eastern Kansas and the Missouri Ozarks, experienced temperatures near or above 100 degrees, with afternoon heat indices between 100 and 110 degrees. 

This heat wave was largely the result of a deep ridge of upper level high pressure that anchored itself over the central United States for much of the week.  This upper level ridge was sub-tropical in nature, and as a result, temperatures across areas under the influence of this ridge were in the upper 90s to, in some cases, above 100 degrees.  Along with the very warm temperatures, dewpoint values were in the mid 70s to even upper 70s at many locations.  The combination of very hot temperatures and an extremely moist low level airmass resulted in heat index values reaching 100-110 degrees across eastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri. 

Here are the peak heat index values that were measured across the area from Sunday, August 1st through Wednesday, August 4th:                       

City Sun, 8/1 Mon, 8/2 Tue, 8/3 Wed, 8/4
Springfield 98 110 103 101
Joplin 107 107 106 105
Rolla/Vichy 91 110 107 107
West Plains 98 107 105 105

In addition to the oppressive heat indices, a few temperature records were either tied or broken across the area.  At Joplin, Monday's high of 102 degrees tied the record high set in 1952.  Joplin then broke the record of 100 degrees, also set in 1952, for Tuesday, August 3, when the afternoon high warmed to 101.  West Plains tied their record of 99 (1970) on Monday, August 2, and broke a high temperature record on Tuesday, when the temperature reached 103 degrees.  That broke the old record of 102, which was set back in 1964. While no records were tied or broken at Springfield, the mercury did top out above 100 degrees on Monday, which was the first time that temperatures have climbed above the century mark since August of 2007. 

As we head into next week, temperatures look to climb back into the upper 90s, and perhaps even break the 100 degree mark once again.  Indications are that tropical humidity levels could return as well, which could potentially set the stage for yet another heat wave to impact portions of the United States.  As temperatures climb once again, here are some safety rules to keep in mind:

  • Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or rescheduled strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol or decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limited caffeinated beverages.
  • During excess heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
  • Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduced your body's ability to dissipate heat.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

Additional information on heat safety can be found by visiting the National Weather Service Heat Safety Page.

Locally, information on the latest heat forecast can be found by visiting the Springfield NWS Home Page, as well as by accessing our Enhanced Hazardous Weather Outlook.




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