Excessive heat warning issued until Wednesday

Temperatures are blamed for deaths in Missouri and Illinois.
Sunday, August 12, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:10 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Columbia - Triple-digit temperatures will continue to bake Columbia and much of Missouri until at least Wednesday evening.

The mercury broke 100 degrees Saturday at Columbia Regional Airport, and the forecast high for today was 102.

Effects of heat

Heat-related illness occurs in several stages, beginning with muscle cramps and followed by more serious stages of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. • Heat exhaustion typically happens when people exercise or work outside in warm, moist weather and lose bodily fluids from sweating heavily. The sweat does not evaporate, causing cool, moist skin. Additional symptoms include headache, nausea and exhaustion. • A person suffers from heat stroke when his or her body is unable to control the person’s temperature. Shallow breathing, a rapid, weak pulse and dry, red skin are all signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke sufferers should seek medical attention immediately. Source: American Red Cross

The heat is being blamed for one death in Missouri and three in central Illinois.

The National Weather Service on Saturday upgraded the excessive heat watch to an excessive heat warning from 1 p.m. today to 7 p.m. Wednesday. An excessive heat warning is issued when temperature and humidity levels make it feel like 105 degrees or hotter for three consecutive days.

Three people were treated Saturday for heat-related emergencies at Boone Hospital Center, said Patricia Groves, a house supervisor at the hospital. All were treated and released.

A stable high-pressure system is causing the heat wave that’s expected to dominate the nation’s midsection for much of the work week.

“It’s like if you set something in your yard that’s really, really heavy,” said Butch Dye, forecast meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. “It will take something strong to move it out.”

A little relief from the extreme heat is possible later in the week when a low-pressure system is forecast to nudge the dome of high pressure to the east. Until then, temperatures will remain dangerously high.

A 47-year-old man died in Kansas City from exposure to excessive heat, the Jackson County Health Department reported Friday. No other information on the victim or the circumstances of the death was available Saturday.

Three Illinois men died last week due to heat-related causes. John Joseph Meyer, 57, was found dead early Thursday afternoon in his house in Prairietown, Ill., which is about 30 miles northeast of St. Louis, according to a news release from the Madison County coroner. The temperature in the house was just above 90 degrees when authorities found him.

Late Thursday night, 53-year-old George Swires was found dead in his home in Alton, Ill., which is about 20 miles north of St. Louis, according to the coroner’s office. At midnight, the temperature was still 89 degrees in the house.

On Tuesday, 87-year-old James Erby was found dead in his East St. Louis home, according to a spokeswoman for the St. Clair County coroner’s office. She didn’t have further details on his death.

In Johnson County, Kan., an 89-year-old man remained in critical but stable condition after suffering heat stroke symptoms the day before in an Olathe parking lot. The man was found about 6:30 p.m. slumped over the wheel of his vehicle at a Wal-Mart. The windows were rolled up, and the engine was off. He was taken to the hospital with a body temperature of 107 degrees.

He had been wearing a heavy, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and long underwear, which health officials said was not that unusual for a man of his age to wear even in extreme heat.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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