Posts tagged with Weather

Snow, slick conditions expected tonight and tomorrow

Winter weather is expected tonight as temperatures dip to the low 30s. The National Weather Service predicts today’s rain will turn to snow and sleet, and then freezing drizzle between midnight and 3 a.m.

Tomorrow is expected to bring more rain, snow and sleet, with the precipitation turning to snow by noon. The area could see a possible one to three inches of snow, with temperatures in the low- to mid-30s.

De Soto Streets Superintendent Ron Creason says the city's snow equipment is geared up and ready for any winter weather that comes.

"We're monitoring the reports but we're not too alarmed by anything right now," Creason said. "We did all our maintenance on our winter equipment in late fall and it's all ready to go."

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for western Kansas, from Hays down through Dodge City and west to the Colorado border. The warning begins this afternoon and runs through about noon tomorrow.

The Kansas Department of Transportation and state emergency management staffs were monitoring the storm and preparing to clear roads, as necessary. No shelters had been established as of this morning.

The weather service says the system is expected to move into Kansas today, with snow tapering off tomorrow afternoon.

Snowfall amounts are expected to range from about 10 to 12 inches in the Dodge City area to eight inches near Salina and three inches near Kansas City.

"We are preparing," said Kansas Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Swartz. "We've had a few storms in the northwest, but we are fully stocked with sand and salt in all our regions. We're in good shape."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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5 Questions: Seasonal Travel

Q: What should drivers remember about driving in bad winter weather?

A: Some of the most important things to remember when traveling in adverse conditions are to slow down, turn off your cruise control, turn your headlights on and dress appropriately for the conditions.

Q: How should I get my vehicle ready for the winter?

A: Prepare your vehicle for winter travel by replacing wiper blades, ensuring tires have good tread and air pressure, and by checking the vehicle’s fluids, exhaust system and other mechanical equipment. You also may want to consider adding a shovel to your trunk, weight such as sand bags in the bed of a pickup (to help with traction and control) and carrying a sand/salt mixture in your trunk to help melt the snow and gain traction.

Q: Any advice on emergency kits?

A: The vehicle should also be stocked with items that would be beneficial if you were involved in a crash or your vehicle became stuck: bottled water, blankets, nonperishable food items, a first-aid kit and a flashlight with extra batteries.

Q: My father always told me to keep my gasoline tank full in the winter. Was he right?

A: You should try to keep your gas tank full. This adds additional weight for traction in adverse conditions and lessens the possibility of running out of fuel if you became stuck.

Q: If roads are slick or snowy, what advice do you suggest?

A: Accelerate and brake gently, and increase following distance between you and other vehicles. Be particularly cautious on bridges, and in curves, as they are often the slicker parts of the road. Steer in the direction you want to go if your vehicle loses traction and begins to slide.

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Resurrect your drought- and heat-stressed foliage

If your evergreens are more “ever-brown” or the leaves of your deciduous trees and shrubs have curled and dried around the edges, chances are the excessive heat of the summer, coupled with a lack of moisture, has taken its toll on your landscaping. Don’t assume these plants are dead just yet. Follow a few simple steps to see whether they can be resurrected.

Step 1: Once the weather has cooled, it is important to make up for the long summer’s lack of moisture. Thoroughly water each shrub or tree, at least once a week, for the next several weeks. Soak the roots completely each time you water and then move on to the next plant. Ross Root Feeders are a great way to water trees. For best results, use the root feeder without fertilizer and set it in several locations around the tree perimeter. Entering the root area from multiple spots assures the tree’s entire root system gets an ample supply of moisture with each watering.

Step 2: Avoid fertilizers. Fertilizers encourage plants to grow and add unwanted stress to the already heat-stressed trees and shrubs.

Step 3: Spread a thick layer of mulch around the base of trees and shrubs. Keep the mulch a few inches from the tree trunk. The mulch will hold in moisture and protect the roots from the inevitable winter cold. If placed too close to the trunk, mulch can cause damage and encourage insect infestation.

Step 4: Wait until spring to prune any heat- or drought-stressed foliage. Pruning encourages growth, and it is best to allow the plants to recover from the summer’s damage first.

Step 5: Dead-looking shrubs and trees may just be dormant. Wait until spring before removing any distressed flora. A mild winter and a wet spring can often work miracles and bring a seemingly dismal landscape back to life.

Step 6: Yews with rust-colored branch tips can be pruned before spring for aesthetic purposes. Cut the dead foliage back just below the point where the green stops and the brown starts. Cutting into the green of the branch will assure the stems can generate new growth when the time comes.

Step 7: When replacing any drought- or heat-stricken plant, consider choosing native trees and shrubs. Indigenous plants are much more likely to survive climatic extremes than their non-native counterparts.

By Linda Cottin

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Excessive heat warning set to expire Wednesday night

An excessive heat warning that has blanketed the county the past several days is set to expire at 7 p.m. tonight.

Temperatures at the New Century Air Base reached 111 degrees Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. While temperatures will generally be lower Wednesday, anyone with outdoor activities planned should still use caution. It's not likely the area will see triple digits, but heat exhaustion is still possible for those working outside.

People with outdoor plans should wear loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water.

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Ozone alert in effect Tuesday in metro KC

The prospect of unhealthy levels of smog Tuesday has prompted officials to issue an orange Ozone Alert for the entire metropolitan Kansas City area.

The alert was issued Monday by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Air Quality Program.

This alert indicates that an unhealthy level of ground-level ozone, also known as smog, is expected in the Kansas City region.

The two most important actions residents should take on Ozone Alert days are:

Protect your health

Ozone pollution can cause a variety of problems in healthy adults, including chest pains, coughing, nausea, throat irritation and difficulty breathing. People who are sensitive to air pollution—children, seniors and people with breathing or heart problems—should limit their exposure to outdoor air between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Everyone should consider scheduling outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

Reduce pollution

More than half of all emissions that lead to ozone pollution is caused by doing yard work, driving, grilling and other everyday activities. Residents can help reduce pollution by carpooling, taking the bus, postponing mowing and postponing refueling vehicles. On Ozone Alert days, fares for regular bus routes are only 75 cents.

Emissions from vehicles, lawn and garden equipment and other sources react in heat and sunlight to form ozone pollution. Other environmental factors—such as warm, sunny weather, low wind speeds and lack of rain—increase the likelihood of poor air quality.

Some amount of ozone pollution is common during typical summers in Greater Kansas City, but high concentrations of ground-level ozone result in violations of the national air quality standards set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

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August begins with another 100+ degree day, excessive heat warning and air quality alert

August is starting like July ended: hot and humid.

According to the National Weather Service, high temperatures for today are forecast to be 105 degrees, with a heat index as high as 115. On Tuesday, high temperatures are forecast to be 100, with a heat index of 107.

All these high temperatures have led the weather service to put in place an excessive heat warning through Wednesday at 7 p.m. A chance of storms later this week could drop temperatures into the low 90s by Friday.

In addition to high temperatures, the Mid-America Regional Council warns that air quality is low. They warn people to avoid activities that contribute to poor air quality, such as mowing the lawn or filling the gas tank during the hottest hours of the day. Remember to drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated, avoid strenuous outdoor activity and check on neighbors and pets.

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NWS issues excessive heat warning until Wednesday evening

Northeast Kansas got only a brief respite from summer heat after a 10-day stretch of excessive heat warnings from the National Weather Service. Less than 24 hours after the expiration of our last heat warning, the NWS has issued another excessive heat warning, effective until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Temperatures are expected to range between 90 and 105 degrees Tuesday, and between 100 and 105 Wednesday. The high humidity will raise heat indices as high as 110 degrees.

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Excessive heat warning in effect through Sunday evening

An excessive heat warning is in effect today and remains in effect through at least 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The high temperature forecasted for today is 102 degrees and it's 102 degrees for tomorrow. Heat indices are expected to reach 109 degrees.

The National Weather Service and Johnson County's Emergency Management Office reminds everyone to stay hydrated and avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the heat of the day.

Sunday afternoon is expected to be particularly hot, with heat indicies possible reaching 115 degrees. Nighttime temperatures are only expected to drop to the mid-70s to 80s. There is a chance for thunderstorms in the forecast on Sunday, which may drop the temperatures a few degrees and move some of the humidity out by Monday and Tuesday.

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Excessive heat warning enters sixth day

The excessive heat warning for northeast Kansas continues for another day.

According to the National Weather Service high temperatures the next four days are expected to be 100 today, 101 Thursday, 100 Friday and Saturday and then 99 on Sunday. Heat indices will be another 10 or more degrees above that.

Here's an Associated Press report on the reasons why it's been so hot for so long — and really, there's no relief in the extended forecast, unless you count the mid 90s as a cool down.

For millions of people enduring this week's extreme heat and humidity, it feels like they're living in a pressure cooker. And in a sense, they are.

Much of the United States is trapped under a heat "dome" caused by a huge area of high pressure that's compressing hot, moist air beneath it, leading to miserable temperatures in the mid-90s to low 100s and heat-index levels well above 100 degrees. The oppressive conditions extend from the northern Plains states to Texas and from Nebraska to the Ohio Valley. And they're expanding eastward.

"It's hot no matter what you're doing or where you are," said Tim Prader, a 50-year-old construction worker who was taking a break Tuesday at a job site in St. Louis. Although his huge Caterpillar excavator has air conditioning, he couldn't entirely escape. "When you're done for the day, you're ready to eat, drink and hit the couch."

When a high pressure system develops in the upper atmosphere, the air below it sinks and compresses because there's more weight on top, causing temperatures in the lower atmosphere to heat up, said Eli Jacks, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Silver Spring, Md.

The dome of high pressure also pushes the jet stream and its drier, cooler air, farther north — it's now well into Canada — while hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico circulates clockwise around the dome, traveling farther inland than normal.

Combined with generally clear skies and the sun's higher summertime angle, "it gets really hot," Jacks said.

That also explains why temperatures in, say, North Dakota this week aren't all that different from temperatures in Houston, he said. The big difference is that people in Houston are accustomed to hot weather, while those in the north are not.

"In places where the highest temperature you ever expect is in the 80s and you're at 102, there are big health concerns," because fewer people have air conditioning or fans, Jacks said. "Heat is the No. 1 killer out of all weather hazards."

What's more, because of the humidity, even nighttime brings little relief.

"It's been 100 degrees at 11 o'clock, lately, at night," said Curtis Mark, who was servicing air conditioners Tuesday at the Greer County Courthouse in Mangum, Okla., where the temperature was 106 degrees at noon. "Stay indoors is about all I do."

Fellow Oklahoman Norma Lauer of Granite said she puts cold water on her hands and arms before going to bed and then lies down "without covering up on the bed, under the fan" and with the air conditioner running.

Thunderstorms can develop around the perimeter of the dome — called the "ring of fire" — bringing temporary relief to some areas, said Kevin Birk, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Illinois. But this dome is so large that the heat rebuilds quickly, Birk said.

While heat domes aren't uncommon, this one is unusual because of its size and duration. It began three days ago and may last seven to 10 days in some locations. And it's moving eastward, with temperatures expected to reach 100 degrees in Washington by Thursday.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records show that the United States broke 25 local high records for the date on Monday, including 103 degrees in both Edgemont S.D., and Victoria, Texas.

On Tuesday, it was 102 in Manhattan, Kan., and Valentine, Neb. The mercury rose to 100 in Joplin, Mo., and Rockford, Ill. — which tied that city's record for the date set in 1930. And in some cities it will be even hotter Wednesday: Chicago reached 93 degrees Tuesday, with 97 forecast for Wednesday.

But relief is on the way. Cooler air should begin moving into the Plains states this weekend, as a strong pool of air from the jet stream begins to push hot air out of the way in the Dakotas and into Minnesota before making its way east. By Monday, temperatures will drop into the mid-80s in the north, while they still could be sweltering in the East, he said.

"This is really an exceptional event, I think it's fair to say ... in terms of scope and duration," he said.

Sweet corn grower Ron Deardorff of Adel, Iowa, is ready for a break in the weather.

The 64-year-old spent Tuesday morning helping his crew of 24 pick corn in the field and by noon was driving the harvest to a grocery store in Des Moines — with a temperature of 95 degrees, a heat index of 105 and no air conditioning.

"Sometimes I have to change shirts in the middle of the day or middle of the afternoon and get a dry one, " said Deardoff, who kept his truck vents wide open and the windows rolled down. "It's no fun and nobody likes it, but the season is only so long and when the corn's ready, it's ready. You just have to go after it and do what you've got to do."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Excessive heat warning continues Tuesday, lasts until at least Saturday

De Soto and the rest of Johnson County are in for another scorcher on Tuesday.

An excessive heat warning, which has been in effect for five days, means people should take extra precautions while outside, drinking plenty of fluids and staying out of the sun and indoors if possible. Several public buildings with air conditioning are open and available for those looking to stay cool. The National Weather Service suggests rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities to early morning or later in the evening to prevent heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

Early this morning, the National Weather Service extended the excessive heat warning for our area through at least 7 p.m. Saturday. It's looking like it may ultimately be allowed to expire Sunday night.

Tuesday's high is 99 degrees with a heat index expected to reach as high as 107 according to the NWS. The excessive heat warning remains in effect until Friday.

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