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Archive for Monday, July 11, 2011

Hutchinson was nation’s hot spot Sunday amid Kansas heat wave

July 11, 2011

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— A record-setting heat wave smothering residents, crops and animals alike is expected to last for at least the next seven days in parts of the state, authorities said Monday.

Hutchinson checked in as the hottest spot in the nation Sunday after temperatures hit 112 degrees and Wichita hit 111, National Weather Service meteorologist Chance Hayes said Monday. Records show temperatures of 111 have occurred only 10 times in Wichita since 1888.

Wichita already this year has recorded 18 days with temperatures over 100 degrees. Typically the state annually averages about 10 days of triple-digit temperatures. The record of 50 days was set in 1936.

The weather service has issued an excessive heat warning through this evening for much of northeast Kansas and several counties in southern Kansas. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s to lower 100s, with high humidity pushing the heat index from 105 to 115 degrees.

“Folks here in Kansas are pretty resilient to heat — since we have it year in and year out,” Hayes said.

Hospitals in Wichita reported just one case of heat exhaustion this past weekend.

Clayton Huseman, executive director of the Kansas Livestock Association’s feed yard division, said he has not heard of any widespread losses of cattle due to heat stress in feedlots, except at least one facility in north central Kansas reported a couple of heat related livestock deaths. But even beyond the death loss, the heat decreases performance and appetite in cattle because they don’t eat well during the heat.

“Everything is impacted, whether on grass or in a feedlot,” Huseman said. “Just like people, nobody does good when it is so ridiculously hot.”

The latest crop condition report released Monday by the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service also showed crops continued to decline under the scorching temperatures.

“Most crops can take short-term stress like that and bounce back fairly well,” said Kraig Roozeboom, Extension agronomist at Kansas State University. “But the longer it stretches out, the harder it gets for the crop to bounce back and go ahead and produce something.”

KASS rated about 18 percent of the corn in poor to very poor condition, with 31 percent rated as fair. About 43 percent was in good condition with just 8 percent rated as excellent.

The condition of the sorghum crop had declined so that it rated 22 percent in poor to very poor shape. About 16 percent of the soybeans also were rated in poor to very poor condition.

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