Sidewalk Sale shoppers endure 110-plus heat index

Barbara McCrary, Lawrence, left, shows off a shirt this morning to Barbara Alldredge, also of Lawrence, at the Downtown Lawrence annual Sidewalk Sale. They were at the Midwest Graphics booth in front of US Bank in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street. Morning shoppers clogged the sidewalks searching for deals from the downtown businesses. This

Shoppers in downtown Lawrence this afternoon are finding more than just hot deals — they’re also enduring a heat index that reached 111 degrees.

“We’re having a sizzling sidewalk sale today,” said Jennifer Schack, 6News meteorologist. “We do have very hot temperatures in the forecast.”

Downtown Lawrence’s annual Sidewalk Sale, which began at sunrise, will go until sunset and features about 150 retail businesses along Massachusetts Street from Sixth Street on the north to 11th Street on the south.

Schack said shoppers shouldn’t be too concerned by the clouds that were rolling in from the north late this afternoon.

“When you look off to the north, you can see dark skies,” Schack said. “We’ve seen a thin line of storms develop in northeast Kansas. They’re weakening as they head into our direction. We’re in the back side if they move off to the south and east. So most of the activity will stay to the north and east of us. If we pick up anything, it will be some light rainfall in the late afternoon.”

A heat advisory is in effect for Douglas County from 1 p.m. today through 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Schack, who was out at the Sidewalk Sale this morning, gave the following tips for shoppers heading out into the heat:

– “Accept all free waters.” She recommended drinking about a bottle of water per hour.

– Don’t wear layered clothing or clothing with linings.

– Wear a visor or a hat that allows ventilation.

– Roam into the air conditioned stores every so often to give yourself a breather.

– “Forget about the makeup,” she said, laughing

Schack said the actual air temperature will continue to rise this afternoon.

“We’re pushing the 100-degree mark today,” she said.

At 2 p.m., Lawrence’s temperature was 99 degrees with southwest winds at 15 mph and a humidity level of 45 percent, making the heat index 111 degrees.

“It’s going to be a nice, toasty afternoon,” she said. “We’ll have plenty of sunshine in the forecast today.”

Overnight, the temperature will drop to a low of 76 by Friday morning. Friday’s high will climb to a high of 99 by late afternoon, with the heat index expected to be warmer than 105 degrees.

Saturday’s morning low will be 77 degrees and the high will climb to 102 by late afternoon. Sunday’s afternoon high will be 101 degrees.