Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cold comfort?

A streak of 100-degree heat isn’t unheard of in Kansas, but that doesn’t make us feel any cooler.

July 19, 2012


The current heat wave hanging over Kansas has a number of safety and economic impacts for the state.

As Lawrence residents venture out for the Downtown Sidewalk Sale today, they should be mindful of the health effects of 100-degree-plus temperatures. The sale is a fun event and an annual tradition for many residents, but shoppers should pace themselves and take advantage of cooling stations designated along Massachusetts Street to provide some air-conditioning and a cool drink of water to go with the hot bargains.

It’s also important during extreme heat for local residents to make sure their neighbors aren’t stuck without air-conditioning or fans to keep them cool. The same goes for pets, who need plenty of shade and water or a cooler spot inside to help them handle the heat.

State officials also are painfully aware of the economic impacts of current heat and drought conditions. Gov. Sam Brownback took the opportunity this week to tour some of the 82 Kansas counties that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared as federal disaster areas because of dry conditions. Agriculture still is a primary economic driver in Kansas, and there’s little farmers can do to mitigate the damage now being done to fall crops including corn, milo and soybeans. Conditions nationwide are contributing to higher grain prices which likely will have a subsequent impact on food prices.

Today’s sidewalk sale may be an exception, but the kind of heat the state is experiencing makes people less inclined to venture outside their homes, putting a damper on retail sales, tourism and other businesses. About the only businesses that profit from this kind of weather are the electric companies and municipal water utilities. This summer’s air conditioning and water bills may benefit the suppliers, but they will put a crimp in the budgets of many Kansas residents.

There’s nothing we can do about the heat except wait it out. Some observers point out that the number of 100-degree days we’ve had this summer still doesn’t match the summer of 1936 during the heart of the Dust Bowl. Our Kansas ancestors were able to survive that onslaught without many of the cooling comforts we enjoy today. Maybe we’ve just gotten soft, but we’ll be glad to see some cooler temperatures and a little rain.


Paul Decelles 5 years, 9 months ago

Actually "some observers" don't have the facts quite straight at least for some parts of Kansas. I haven't had a chance to dig into the Lawrence data but here are the 100 temp rankings for Wichita: At this point, 2012 ranks fifth in the number of 100-degree days through July 15.

  1. 1980 22
  2. 2011 21
  3. 1990 18
  4. 1933 18
  5. 2012 14
  6. 1978 14
  7. 1954 14
  8. 1953 14
  9. 1936 14
  10. 1934 14

Read more here:

Notice that 2012 is ranked 5th and 1933 is ranked 4th...but the top 3 are all since 1980. Also 2011 is actually ranked 2nd. Personally I didn't remember last summer feeling quite as hot here but the data I found are from Wichita. Oh 1936...ranked 9th. Maybe "some observers" will have time to dig into the Lawrence records for comparison? Ya think?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

100° temperatures are possible (likely?) for another 2 months, and in just the next 10 days we could see that record be eclipsed.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 9 months ago

Paul, That Wichita blogger needs to dig through the records a bit more carefully, because I have a hard time believing that Lawrence has had hotter summers than Wichita. Here are the tentative numbers from the Lawrence weather station that goes back to 1894--I could be off by a few, but these are what I came up with: 1. 1936--57 days 2. 1934--49 3. 1980--29 4. 1937--26 5. tie: 2012 and 1954--23 6. 1939--22 7. 1952--18

Looks like 2012 will likely end up #3 on the list, hopefully no higher!

Paul Decelles 5 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Doug! I agree, hopefully no higher....

gr 5 years, 9 months ago

Proof there is no global warming! It hasn't even warmed up to 1936 yet. It's been cooling all these years and now has finally got back up to what it was before. Well, not quite yet, but getting close. Must have been all those cell phones in the 20's and early 30's causing all that global warming.

Or.... could it be the temperatures fluctuate from year to year? Hot spells followed by cold spells?

I'm not sure picking one site such as Wichita is a good choice to determine anything other than about Wichita.

But hey, one person said we can only compare data that is convenient. Because, science is hard. Guess they think public policy is based upon convenient or easy science. Or would you even call it science, but lazy searching? Maybe, they just want to tax people more.

It's too hot. Tax people more. It's too cold. Tax people more. It's just right. Tax people more.

As the bozo would say, now you're getting it.

Have we passed the financial tipping point? Auger the country into the ground.

Paul Decelles 5 years, 9 months ago

gr et al,

I have put together a brief look at Kansas climate using, you know, ummm data, at:

Maybe this will encourage the editor to not rely so much on the mythical "some observers".


Commenting has been disabled for this item.