Dangerous heat conditions likely to prevail all week

Monday, July 18, 2011 | 8:06 p.m. CDT; updated 11:50 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 18, 2011
Trevor Kemp of Star Heating and Air Conditioning sweats as he works to restore the central air of a customer on Monday.

It was so hot Monday that Jack Burton, 5, said he could drink a million-gazillion gallons of water.

Jack was attending Camp Adventure at the Reichmann Indoor Pavilion in Stephens Lake Park.

How to survive the heat

The National Weather Service recommends these strategies:

  • Reschedule strenuous activities to the early morning or evening.
  • Wear lightweight clothing that is loose fitting.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use fans.
  • Take frequent rest breaks in air-conditioned environments.

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With a dangerous combination of heat and humidity this week, the camp is cutting outdoor playtime short to show movies in the air-conditioned pavilion.

The heat index is expected to hover between 105 and 115 degrees this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Recreation Specialist Steve Evers said the Camp Adventure counselors use their own judgment of when hot becomes too hot. To make sure the kids are protected, counselors apply sunscreen frequently and make sure they drink enough water.

“We don’t want to send anyone home with heat exhaustion,” Camp Adventure Director Joe Fessahaye said.

Other camps are taking similar precautions.

Kris Maloney of the Columbia Equestrian Center, 5925 N. Route E, called it lucky that the July riding camp session was held last week. The next one begins Aug. 8.

In extremely hot weather, campers stop three to four times during each lesson to take a drink. The heat has also prompted the center to change horse playtime to the evening when it’s cooler.

“We take it easy. We don’t do jumping, don’t do cantering," Maloney said. "We just learn basics and keep everyone safe.”

Health risks in excessive heat include dehydration, heat stress and, in the most serious cases, heat stroke, according to The risk is even higher among young children, the elderly, pets and anyone without air conditioning. Those who do not have air conditioning should keep their home well ventilated with fans.

Columbia residents may notice a haze effect during a heat advisory. The National Weather Service office in Kansas City said this is a result of humidity and added moisture, similar to fog. It is especially noticeable during early morning.

The shelves of Columbia's hardware and home stores are beginning to feel the effects of the ongoing heat wave. Toby Clifton, manager of Lowe’s, described the hottest weeks of summer as a “micro-season” where air-conditioning units, fans and water are in high demand.

At Home Depot, manager Matt Lammers said he has noticed the same trend.

“We are still getting a small supply, but pretty much all of the warehouses are already out,” he said of air-conditioning units. “They have to allocate a little bit to here and there, so they can’t give as much because everybody needs it at the moment.”

Another major concern for Lammers is keeping the garden center’s outdoor plants from drying out. “We definitely spend a lot of money on water,” he said.

For J. C. Morris, co-owner of Tiger Appliance Heating and Cooling on Business Loop 70, it was down to running his business efficiently.

Calls for repairs are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, he said, but efforts are made to dispatch technicians who are already in the area where a call was made.

Morris did note that he'd been getting more calls than normal but said his employees were keeping up with demand.

"We're just making sure we have water on the trucks," he said.

Glyn Coakley, Garrett Evans, Sarah Hoffman and Alex Wood contributed to this story.

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