Trying to beat the heat
If you’re feeling the heat, it’s probably safe to assume our feline and canine critters, adorned with coats of fur, are also sweating. Mary Berg, a veterinary technician at Gentle Care Animal Hospital, 601 Kasold Drive, said the main problems they see with animals in the heat is heat stroke and exhaustion, as well as burnt paws.
Berg provided these suggestions to keep pets safe in the heat:
• If animals are kept outside, make sure there’s adequate shade and cool water. A baby pool can also keep dogs cool.
• Limit physical exercise with dogs, and shorten walks. Be conscious of hot pavement as well when walking.
• If you don’t have air conditioning, leave a fan on for animals inside.
Pawsh Wash is also opening their doors at 1520 Wakarusa Drive for any dogs and owners who want to stop by and cool off. Call 856-7297 for hours.
Here’s what’s against city ordinance when it comes to pet care:
• Leaving an animal in a vehicle for more than five minutes when it’s 80 degrees or warmer.
• Leaving a dog outside on a leash for more than one hour. Dogs must also have a three-hour break between being leashed outdoors.
As extreme heat and fire danger warnings consume the northeast Kansas weather map, data from the Kansas State Climatologist’s Office confirm the obvious: it’s been really hot and dry this year.
Every month in 2012 has been warmer than average, and precipitation is behind by about 4 inches through June compared to data from 1981 to 2011.
Here’s a look at some of the numbers:
• The 77.7 degree average temperature for June was 3.7 degrees above average. But the average maximum temperature — 91.9 degrees — was seven degrees above average.
• The June 28 high temperature of 107 degrees — also occurring in 1934, 1936 and 1980 — tied an area record.
• April, May and June all saw less precipitation than average. June was the driest, seeing just 1.56 inches, compared to the average of 5.11 inches.
• Lawrence has seen 13.3 inches of precipitation in the first six months of 2012, more than four inches shy of the 17.69 inch average through June.
Lawrence is now in a severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, while other parts of the state are in an extreme drought.
The lack of rain is causing concern in the agricultural world, said Pat Slattery, National Weather Service spokesman.
“There’s a lot of corn and soybean fields just burning up right now,” Slattery said. Even if the rain picked up, it’d be too late to salvage the damage already sustained in the fields, he said.
And there doesn’t seem to be much relief in sight. Temperatures are expected to reach into the 100s throughout the weekend, and a heat advisory for northeast Kansas has been extended until Sunday. Chance of rain is slim as well, topping out at a 30 percent chance of rain on Sunday.
The dry, hot weather could also play a role is the possibility of a county-wide burn ban, which requires approval by the County Commission, said Teri Smith, director of Douglas County Emergency Management. However, Smith said the fire index has not increased in recent weeks, but a rise in grass fires — seen throughout the county recently — could play a role in a burn ban decision. The topic will most likely be broached at a regularly schedule fire department meeting Thursday, Smith said.
“They’re following it closely,” Smith said.