Remnants of tropical storm Barry moved across central Missouri on Wednesday, bringing a cool breeze and clouds from the southeast that kept temperatures in the 70s. The comfortable day offered a respite from the heat of the weekend. But the National Weather Service is warning that the worst heat wave of the summer is on its way later this week. In Columbia, residents can expect temperatures to rise to the upper 90s starting Wednesday and heat indexes ranging from 100 to 110 degrees.
Although tropical storm Barry, which was briefly a hurricane, dumped disastrous amounts of rain in Louisiana, its remnants were actually a boon for Missouri, Kenton Gewecke, chief meteorologist at KOMU, said.
“Having the remnants of Barry in Missouri is almost a good thing because it brings cooler temperatures,” Gewecke said. “It is holding off the heat wave for two more days.”
Although Barry only produced a smattering of raindrops Monday in Columbia, there was a chance it might cause “scattered showers and thunderstorms” through Tuesday afternoon in Columbia . On Monday, the majority of the storm moved across Kentucky and Illinois.
The weather service Monday issued an excessive heat watch that will begin Wednesday afternoon and continue through Saturday evening. It predicted heat indexes of 100 to 105 degrees, and up to 110 in urban areas. There’s a chance the heat wave could continue beyond Saturday.
By Wednesday morning, it will be mostly sunny, and the warmer temperatures will be on the way.
A weather service forecast discussion Monday said dew points will be near 70 degrees.
Melissa Byrd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, said a heat watch is issued when there is a potential for a 110-degree heat index or a 105-degree index continuously for at least four days.
Gewecke said an excessive heat watch is also issued when temperatures put people at risk.
“Heatstroke is the No. 1 cause of death in weather,” he said.
During these sorts of heat waves, professionals offer this advice:
- Wear loose and light-colored clothing.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- If necessary, do outdoor activities in the morning before the heat in the afternoon.
- Find cooling shelters if there is no air conditioning. Columbia has several cooling centers.
- Look after elderly neighbors.
- Remember that car interiors can reach deadly temperatures very quickly. Do not leave children or pets in cars for any reason.
Gewecke said cooler weather might return by next Tuesday.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.