With temperatures expected to rise even more this week, the National Weather Service office in Kansas City has issued an excessive warning for the metro area from 1 p.m. Wednesday to 8 p.m. Saturday.
High temperatures are forecasted to be between 94 and 98 degrees, with low temperatures only down to 76 to 80 and humidity driving the heat index to 105 degrees and higher.
The big reminders often circulated during a heat wave: Drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks if outside, check on neighbors – particularly elderly ones – who might not have air conditioning and make sure not to leave a baby or pet outside in a car.
No matter how many times that last reminder gets shared, said Eddie Saffell, assistant chief of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, inevitably someone somewhere accidentally forgets and leaves a child or pet in a hot car too long.
“It happens everywhere,” he said. “Even if the air conditioner is running and the car idling, it can still get warm.”
The city of Independence will have the Sermon Community Center, at the corner of Truman and Noland roads, open as a cooling center Wednesday through Saturday. The Sermon Center is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Also, all Mid-Continent Public Library branches are open as cooling centers this week.
In Blue Springs, the Fieldhouse, 425 NE Mock Ave., and Vesper Hall, 400 NW Vesper St., will be available as cooling centers during normal operating hours.
At the Fieldhouse, those hours are 5 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Vesper Hall hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Friday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday.
The city of Grain Valley has two cooling centers open through Friday or Saturday. City Hall at 711 Main St. is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday, and the Community Center at 713 Main St. is open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. today and Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday.
All metro area Salvation Army locations will open as cooling shelters 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. The Independence Community Center is at 14700 E. Truman Road.
A few other helpful reminders that sometimes get overlooked:
• Keep a watch of young children playing outside, as “they don't know their thirsty,” Saffell said.
• In addition to staying hydrated and not overworked when outside, Saffell said it's also important to get hydrated before going outside – earlier in the day or even the night before.
• Have some supply of water in the car for trips – not just for yourself but for the car itself in case of a breakdown of overheating.
“Heat can do a number on cars, and even warm water will help,” Saffell says.
• Make sure pets have enough water and some shade if they're outside for an extended time.
Right now, all the summer rain has tamped down fire hazard possibilities, but Saffell said that can change depending on how long and extreme the heat wave lasts. In that case, he said, be wary of smoking materials and any outdoor burns.
Know the symptoms
It also helps to know the symptoms for heat exhaustion and – more seriously – more stroke.
Signs of heat exhaustion include: faint or dizzy feeling, excessive sweating, cool, pale and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid and weak pulse and muscle cramps. Those with heat exhaustion should get to a cool, air-conditioned place, drink some water if fully conscious and take a cool shower or use cold compresses.
Signs of heat stroke include: throbbing headache, no sweating, body temperature above 103 degrees, red, hot and dry skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid and strong pulse and possible loss of consciousness. Call 911 for someone suffering from heat stroke and take immediate action to cool the person until help arrives.
How hot was it?
The highest temperature recorded in Kansas City – records go back to 1889 – is 113 on Aug. 14, 1936. The record high for Missouri is 118, recorded at Warsaw and Union. The temperature as measured at Kansas City International Airport hit 100 once in 2018 and not at all in 2017 or 2016. This is, on average, the hottest time of the year in Kansas City. The average high is 89 from July 15 to Aug. 6, and then it starts drifting downward. By Labor Day, it’s 83. By Thanksgiving, it’s 49.