Archive for Tuesday, August 2, 2011

‘Desert heat’ to envelop Lawrence ; excessive heat warning in place through Wednesday

Temperature likely to hit 110 after reaching 107 Monday

As temperatures soared into the 100s residents had many different approaches to deal with the heat.

August 2, 2011


Grayson Warrior, Kansas University senior, Lawrence, and staff at The Reserve, 2511 W. 31st St., loads a broken stoplight into a trash bin Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. He and other staffers, in the triple-digit heat, were cleaning up the piles of trash that had overflowed bins in preparation for new renters moving in. The high Monday hit 107, but hottest day ever recorded in Lawrence was 114 on Aug. 10, 1934, the state climatologist said.

Grayson Warrior, Kansas University senior, Lawrence, and staff at The Reserve, 2511 W. 31st St., loads a broken stoplight into a trash bin Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. He and other staffers, in the triple-digit heat, were cleaning up the piles of trash that had overflowed bins in preparation for new renters moving in. The high Monday hit 107, but hottest day ever recorded in Lawrence was 114 on Aug. 10, 1934, the state climatologist said.

6th hottest July

Last month ended up as the sixth hottest July on record in east-central Kansas, the region that includes Douglas County, according to Mary Knapp, state climatologist. Here are the region’s top 10 since 1895, expressed as the mean average daily temperature:

  1. 87.3 degrees, in 1980.
  2. 86.7 degrees, in 1936.
  3. 86.6 degrees, in 1934.
  4. 86.1 degrees, in 1954.
  5. 85.4 degrees, in 1901.
  6. 85.2 degrees, in 2011.
  7. 84.1 degrees, in 1939.
  8. 83.6 degrees, in 1935.
  9. 82.8 degrees, in 1955.
  10. 82.7 degrees, in 1974.

Few would confuse Massachusetts Street for Las Vegas Boulevard, but forecasters are laying odds that the Lawrence area will be shedding its usual conditions for those more typical of the Sin City come Tuesday afternoon.

Go ahead and bet the house.

“It’ll give us a hot, dry punch,” said Jared Leighton, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Topeka. “It’ll feel more like a desert heat — a dry heat.”

Expect an “atmospheric mix” not seen all that often in these parts to push the temperature to a record 110 degrees this afternoon, Leighton said. Air from more than a mile above will press down over northeast Kansas, simultaneously drawing in dry air from New Mexico and the Texas panhandle.

The resulting slight decline in humidity normally would be cause for celebration, but the accompanying rise in temperatures essentially should cancel out any benefit, Leighton said. If the temperature hits 110 degrees — surpassing the record 106 degrees in the area last year, which had topped the 105 degrees recorded in both 1964 and 1935 — the heat index likely won’t rise above 112 degrees.

Bob Niederbrach plans to deal with the heat just as he has been for the past several weeks: guzzling plenty of Gatorade, eating bananas to replace lost potassium, and trying to find shade when he can.

Which isn’t easy, considering he’s putting together a new elevator shaft five stories above Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

“You touch that metal too long, and it’ll burn your hands,” said Niederbrach, a lead man for Drywall Systems Inc., a contractor at the construction site. “When the sun reflects, it’s like someone setting off a flashbulb in your face.”

The heat already had sent one of his coworkers to Lawrence Memorial Hospital before lunch Monday, he said. Overall, three people would arrive in the emergency room Monday for heat-related issues, hospital officials said, after 31 people had checked in there during July.

Niederbrach doesn’t plan on adding to the tally today, as an Excessive Heat Warning continues.

“You just grit your teeth and deal with it,” he said. “That’s all you can do.”

Dozens of heat-related injuries treated

Three people were treated for heat-related symptoms Monday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital as temperatures soared above 100 degrees, said Belinda Rehmer, an LMH spokeswoman.

Rehmer said the hospital in all of July saw 31 patients because of heat-related issues and six of them had to be admitted for observation.

To help prevent heat-related problems, Division Chief Eve Tolefree, of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, said each department fire apparatus and medic unit is stocked with a cooler full of ice and water. She said the department also typically calls for more firefighters if they are fighting a fire in heat that is excessive.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning until 7 p.m. Wednesday with near-record temperatures expected today with highs in the range of 103 to 110 degrees in the area.

The NWS advises residents to take extra precautions by limiting time spent outside, rescheduling strenuous activities to early morning or evening hours, wearing lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible, and drinking plenty of water.


riverdrifter 6 years, 9 months ago

It is what it is. Forecasts say we 'cool' off to the mid-90's for the remainder of the week.

The first chance of the season of a significant hurricane in the Carribbean shows up:

Tim Quest 6 years, 9 months ago

Every day, at least 5-6 well-meaning dolts ask me how I can work outside in these conditions.

In case you have been or have considered becoming one of these mealy-mouthed idiots, here's a handy guide to satiate your curiosity:

1) You really do sort-of get used to it after a while. I had gone a good 15 minutes without even thinking about the heat until you brought it back up yet again.

2) I don't have a choice. This is my job. This is what I do. I like having a job, and if I want to keep having a job, I have to show up regardless of the heat index. Did I prefer freelance writing from the comfort and cool of my own living room? I did. But you know what? I like having a good, steady paycheck even better, and if hot workdays are my biggest job-related problem, I really can't complain.

So yes, I DID notice how hot it was. No thanks to you for being the 10th comedy legend to bring it to my attention today.

George_Braziller 6 years, 9 months ago

You do sort of get used to it when you don't have it. I work from home but people ask me all the time how I can live without air conditioning. I just do.

My house is 150 years old, has solid brick walls, and there isn't any way to run duct work for AC. Don't want to have five window units running so I just do without.

kernal 6 years, 9 months ago

Can't say it too often but water is the best beverage for anyone to drink when it's this hot. Caffeine and booze will just dehydrate you. I'm drinking a gallon a day as opposed to my usual half gallon. Last night I felt like I was sloshing.

Allready had 32 oz. since 5:30 this morning.

somedude20 6 years, 9 months ago

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withallmy 6 years, 9 months ago

Jobs are great in this economy especially but workers have rights too. Rumor has it the hours of the "work day" for the downtown project is being moved from cooler early morning hours to later 8:30-4:30 hours so that Compton can "see the workers on the job" as he drives by on his way home. Nevermind that people are already getting sick from working and being in this heat - let's make sure that those who sit in air conditioned offices all day and make the big bucks continue to profit and manipulate the workers into having to work in poor life-threatening conditions. It's not THAT much cooler in the early morning -- and really workers should be able to do whatever they need to do in order to be safe and stay alive when conditions are poor. Compton and all employers who don't take into consideration that its those workers who put food in their mouths and allow them to live their cushy lifestyles should be required to sit on the job site for the hours their employees do if they expect them to work in the hottest part of the day.

Mark Kostner 6 years, 9 months ago

I've lived in both cities for years and Las Vegas summers are way more comfortable. The humidity there is single digits and I doubt Lawrence will get THAT dry. Las Vegas is so dry most rain evapororates before it hits the ground. I could walk in the rain and not get wet. You could put wet clothing out and it would dry in minutes. In the afternoons you start to get sunburned in minutes, and your skin cracks and scales. The nights are perfect though.

withallmy 6 years, 9 months ago

@krichards - Well I am not sure how starting them later in the day will result in them working more hours - they are not increasing hours but asking for a shift in the hours to starting later and ending later. This puts the workers in the hottest part of the day -- I guess Compton and his investors should just drive by on the way to work if they want to see them in action.

bangaranggerg 6 years, 9 months ago

a trick I've learned is dry cold towels. I have a bunch of stacks of terry cloth towels and keep them in the freezer, if you're driving delivery or somewhere without AC in your vehicle you can put the terry towels in big zip lock storage bags and drop them in a cooler full of ice so they stay cold. Throw a cold towel on your steering wheel, put one on your neck or sit on a couple, you'll thank yourself.

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