The Kansas City area had its first 100-degree day in nearly five years on Thursday.
The temperature reached 100 degrees at 2:37 p.m. at the Kansas City International Airport, according to the National Weather Service’s Kansas City office.
“It’s the first time since September 8, 2013,” said Jonathan Welsh, a meteorologist with the Weather Service.
The average temperature on July 12 going back more than 100 years is 88 degrees, Welsh added. The hottest July 12 on record is 109 degrees, set in 1954.
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Downtown temperatures do not accurately represent the actual air temperature due to the urban heat island effect, Welsh said. The effect, caused by a large concentration of concrete and traffic, means meteorologists use temperatures at KCI as the most accurate measurement of heat in the area.
On average, excessive heat causes more than 1,500 death per year in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The city of Blue Springs announced it would offer cooling centers to the public who may be in danger of overheating.
Vesper Hall, at 400 N.W. Vesper, will be open until 9 p.m. Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The Fieldhouse, 425 N.E. Mock Ave., will be open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We are encouraging our residents to take heed to the warnings of excessive heat and make all efforts to protect themselves from the dangerous weather,” said Mayor Carson Ross in a statement. “Please be sure to pay special attention to senior citizens, young children and those with health or breathing problems and outdoor pets.”
Welsh said temperatures are expected to drop next week, with highs in the upper 80s and lower 90s.
But the Weather Service forecasts continuing high temperatures this weekend. The highs for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are in the mid-90s, but it will feel like it is hotter than 100 degrees due to humidity.
Scattered showers are possible Saturday and storms are possible late Sunday.
Welsh said one factor contributing to the hotter temperatures is cooler air from Canada not flowing into the area and interacting with the hotter air that flows north from the Gulf of Mexico.
Other cities are also feeling the affect of this, which Welsh contributed to Arctic air interactions and, to a lesser extent, global warming.
“We’re seeing this stagnant pattern for the South and Kansas City area,” Welsh said.
There are indications that El Nino will form this year, which Welsh said would likely result in drier conditions in the area.
Since Jan. 1, the Kansas City area has had 6.5 inches of precipitation less than normal.
The Jackson County Health Department offers these recommendations for staying cool:
▪ Drink more water
▪ Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
▪ Wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and apply sunscreen regularly
▪ Schedule outdoor activities in the morning or evening