Weather News

‘Outside the realm of normal’: Dangerous heat wave to stay in KC area until Saturday

A summer heat wave is descending on Kansas City, as temperatures are expected to climb into the upper 90s and remain there until the weekend.

A stretch of excessive heat and humidity will feel like 100 to 110 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service issued an excessive heat warning.

“It’s definitely going to be oppressive,” said Jared Leighton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Pleasant Hill office. “It is not healthy to be outside for really much time at all. Any kind of outdoor or strenuous activities are highly discouraged over the next few days.”

The hot weather and humid conditions beginning Wednesday will continue through the weekend. The excessive heat warning has been issued from 1 p.m. Wednesday through 8 p.m. Saturday.

Several communities have open cooling centers to give relief to those who do not have access to air conditioning.

One of the main causes for the high temperatures is the amount of humidity or moisture in the air. That will cause the outdoor temperatures to feel like it is between 105 to 110 degrees outside, Leighton said.

The Kansas City area is usually experiences a period of excessive heat at least two or three times during the summer months.

But the temperatures are still higher than normal even in this type of situation. It’s usually in the lower 90s this time of year, with heat indices between 95 to 100 degrees.

“It is summer and it is warm out there and we normally see something like this once or twice a year but this definitely something people should take into care when they go outside and do any activities,” Leighton said. “This is outside the realm of normal.”

Leighton suggested people avoid spending too much time out in the sun. If possible, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated, especially over the next three or four days.

“It is definitely going to be unfriendly,” he said.

Be sure to check on neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, especially the elderly and the sick, said Sgt. Jacob Becchina, a Kansas City police spokesman.

While the daytime temperatures can be stifling with the heat index climbing into the 105 to 110 range, the overnight temperatures can be equally uncomfortable. The nighttime lows could be in the 80 degree range, said Leighton.

Cooling centers such as the public libraries can offer relief to those without good air conditioning. But those locations become less available at night.

“That can really take its toll,” he said. “Anybody who doesn’t have AC or real good functioning AC should take some kind of precaution. Go over a friend’s house; go to a family member’s house overnight because the overnight temperatures are going to be almost as unfriendly as the daytime highs.”

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.