COLUMBIA — The heat index topped 100 degrees in Columbia by mid-morning Tuesday, which forecasters have pegged as the hottest day in the ongoing heat wave.
At 10:12 a.m. Tuesday, a temperature of 90.7 degrees and 67 percent humidity combined for a heat index of 106.0 at Sanborn Field on the MU campus.
Activity and Recreation Center: 1707 W. Ash St.
Armory Sports and Community Center: 701 E. Ash St.
Columbia Public Library: 100 W. Broadway
Columbia Mall: 2300 Bernadette Drive
Health Department: 1005 W. Worley St.
Oakland Senior Center: 805 Old 63
Paquin Towers: 1201 Paquin St.
On Monday, a local hardware store was running low on fans, kids ran in and out of the spray areas at Stephens Lake Park, and construction workers took regular breaks Monday as Columbia's temperature hit the mid-90s.
A heat advisory has been issued for all of Boone County, in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
With temperatures peaking at about 93 degrees Monday, Columbia residents found different ways of dealing with the heat.
The city encourages people to use seven locations during the hottest times of the summer. Being one of those seven places, the Columbia Public Library became not only a busy place for children to come and check out books for summer school but it was also a place to escape the heat.
“Because you can just come and be here, it’s hard to know (how many people are there for the cooling center),” said Kris Farris, public relations coordinator for the library. “But anecdotally I know people come here during the heat of the day because we are a cooling center.”
Farris said the library is an attractive place for a cooling center partly because it’s open seven days a week and is located near a bus stop.
“You don’t just have to sit and be bored,” Farris said. “You can get on the computers or just sit and read for a couple of hours.”
Large fans kept the air moving at the Stephen’s Equestrian Barn off of Old Highway 63. Some horses got sponge baths while others stood outside in the heat, finding shade under a tree.
“(The three western horses) stay out until they come up and say ‘OK I want in now’ and kick and knock until I pay attention to them and let them in,” Jessica Schwartz said. Once the horses are let in, they get cooled down with sponge baths.
“Peyton (the horse) toed into the barn and over to the (cat's) bowl and just put his head down in it and drank it all,” Schwartz said. “I don’t know why he had to have that water and couldn’t wait to just get back in his stall.”
STEPHENS LAKE PARK
Helena Kowaleski, 17, and Taylor Steele, 16, spent a couple hours by the lake during the heat of the day on Monday afternoon, not an unusual summer activity for Kowaleski.
“I come here a lot and I see lots of people come here with their families,” she said. “You know people will come with their parents, uncles, cousins, whoever.”
She said the younger kids typically stay over by the spray area but will move to the lake when the sprayers turn off.
“It’s not that deep and kids can go out into the water,” she said.
She said she’s noticed that the spot has become more popular recently, gesturing to the kids running around and the couples spread out next to the water.
“A lot of people come here – it’s free and they’ve done a lot of work and it’s just really nice out here.”
WESTLAKE ACE HARDWARE STORE
Even though heat-related purchases only make up about 30 percent of Westlake’s business, according to sales associate Stan Williams, that 30 percent is going fast.
“The big hot seller is the small air conditioner that can be moved around,” he said.
Williams sees the most custumers around lunchtime and early in the morning before it’s “not too hot for people,” he said, and they’re coming for air conditioners and for fans.
“We’re pretty much out of air conditioners but we’re getting more in on Wednesday evening,” Williams said.
CONSTRUCTION AT STADIUM GRILL
Tony Billington, a Coil Construction project supervisor, explained the necessary actions he and his workers take while working on an especially hot day.
“We drink a lot of Gatorade and vitamin water and we take the necessary breaks,” Billington said.
Billington and his men have about six weeks of construction left on the Stadium Grill, a restaurant connected to the Hampton Inn on 1225 Fellows Place, set to open mid- to late August of this year. The restaurant lacks air conditioning, Billington said, and some of the men work in the roof on the rafters.
“The men who work in the rafters work for about an hour and then take 10-minute breaks every hour,” he said. “We have the men get by a fan; we have four fans inside to the keep the air circulating.”
Members of the Columbia Farmers Market on Ash Street must stand outside and endure the heat in order to sell their produce and other goods.
Caroline Todd, the Columbia Farmers Market manager, listed some of the steps she and vendors take before venturing outside in the heat during their working hours.
“We drink lots of water the day before and we give away free water some days,” Todd said.
Sandy Creek Farms owner Rhonda Thiessen gave tips on how she deals with the heat.
“We try to assimilate to the heat; we don’t turn on our air conditioners unless we absolutely need to,” Thiessen said. “We also mist each other with spray bottles.”
Along with keeping themselves cool, Todd and the others members of the market keep the vegetables and fruits as fresh as possible by spraying them with water and only taking them out a little bit at a time.