|Oppressive heat and humidity plagued much of the central United States from August 8th through August 14th. Across eastern Kansas and the Missouri Ozarks, temperatures topped out each afternoon from the upper 90s to around or just above 100 degrees. A moisture-rich low level air mass resulted in heat indices climbing to between 102 and 110 degrees each afternoon. In addition to the excessive daytime heat, overnight lows only dropped into the upper 70s at most locations.
Here are the highest heat index values observed each day:
In some cases, the temperatures were warm enough to break or tie some temperature records.
-A record warm low of 73 was set at West Plains on August 10th. This broke the old record of 72 set in 2006.
-A record high temperature of 103 was set at West Plains on Wednesday, August 11th. This broke the old record of 102, which was set in 1980.
-A record high temperature of 98 was tied at Vichy/Rolla on Friday, August 13th, tying the record set in 1901.
Below are daily graphs during the heat wave depicting temperature and heat index trends. Please note that the data on the graphs is arranged from right to left, with data from August 14th on the far left of each graph.
So how does this summer stack up against past summers? While meteorological summer (June, July, and August) won't come to an end until August 31st, an examination of the record books through August 15th shows that Summer 2010 will likely go down as one of the top 10 warmest on record.
Here are the numbers from June 1 through August 15 for Springfield and Joplin for the average average temperature (average of the daily high and low), the average daily highs, and the average daily lows:
*Tied with June 1--August 15, 1901
**Tied with June 1--August 15, 2005
***Tied with June 1--August 15, 1944