COLUMBIA — A heat advisory has been issued for Thursday through Saturday in Columbia, with predicted temperatures between 100 and 105 degrees.
Temperatures in Columbia are expected to hit 106 degrees Thursday, which will make it the hottest day so far this year, according to the National Weather Service in St. Louis.
Nine air-conditioned locations throughout Columbia are open to the public during their regular business hours to provide cool environments, access to restrooms and sometimes drinking water. These locations are:
- Activity and Recreation Center, 1707 W. Ash St.
- Armory Sports and Community Center, 701 E. Ash St.
- Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St.
- Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway
- Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St.
- Oakland Plaza Senior Center, 805 Old Highway 63 N.
- Public Health and Human Services Department, 1005 W. Worley St.
- Salvation Army Family Services, 1108 W. Ash St.
- Salvation Army Harbor House, 602 N. Ann St.
According to the weather service advisory, "the last time this degree of heat was felt in June for three or more consecutive days across the eastern half of Missouri and southwest Illinois was more than 60 years ago."
In addition to forecasts of record-breaking heat Thursday, the weather service predicts high temperatures through the Fourth of July: 103 degrees Friday, 99 degrees Saturday, 99 degrees Sunday, 99 degrees Monday, 99 degrees Tuesday, and 100 degrees July 4.
The increased humidity levels necessitated the heat advisory, according to the weather service. Humidity levels are set to rise Thursday, Friday and Saturday due to a cold front moving into southern Iowa.
The most extreme heat will be in the afternoons, so the notice advises avoiding strenuous outdoor activities during that time. The weather service advises working outdoors during the early morning or evening, taking breaks while working outdoors, staying in the shade, drinking plenty of water and watching for signs of heat stroke.
"The most important way to beat the heat is to stay in a air-conditioned area and drink more water," said Geni Alexander, spokeswoman for the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. "Fans are useful tools, but they should not be the primary way (to cool off)."
The Health Department reminds residents to pay attention to the heat-related illnesses and potential dangers because of the hot weather.
The department also offers information about cooling centers in Columbia. There are currently nine cooling centers provides services for residents.
"We provide magazines and internet for citizens who need a rest," said Mitzi St. John, spokeswoman for Daniel Boone Regional Library.
In addition to these options, the Health Department suggests the following tips to avoid heat-related illness:
- If you find someone is experiencing a heat stroke, dial 911
- Be aware of heat exhaustion. If you are suffering from heat exhaustion, you should have a rest in cool area right away, drink plenty of water or take a shower.
- Dress properly for the heat, and consider using a hat or umbrella.
- Eat more often, and eat in smaller portions.
- Take breaks more often.
According to the heat advisory, “very high body temperatures may damage vital organs and spur heat related illness including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat strokes.”
In times of extreme heat, it's important to pay particular attention to the very young, the elderly and the chronically ill, according to the press release.
Heat-related illnesses include:
- Heat stroke: Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury. Symptoms may include light headache, dizziness, dry skin, decreased sweating despite the heat, hallucinations, chills, high body temperature, confusion and slurred speech.
- Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion, although not as lethal as heat stroke, is still serious. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, pale skin, rapid heartbeat and muscle cramps
The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Thursday to 7 p.m. Saturday.