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Dangerous Heat Wave for Plains, Midwest This Week

By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
August 28, 2013, 9:26:02 AM EDT

Many areas from the Plains to the Ohio Valley will experience a long-duration and dangerous late-summer heat wave this week under blazing sunshine.

The heat will be hitting at a time when many kids are heading back to school and football season is beginning. It will also offer opportunities to get in some late-season swimming.

While lengthening nights during August will bring brief relief, heat can still build up to dangerous levels in urban areas during the afternoon and evening hours.


Poor air quality will be a concern at times, especially in the larger cities. Folks with respiratory problems should avoid being outside of an air-conditioned environment for long periods of time during the heat wave.


In some locations, temperatures will challenge daily record highs, many of which have been on the books since the late 1800s.

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Temperatures are forecast to reach the 90s over a broad area, including Denver, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Ark., Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.


Temperatures could be reaching 100 degrees from parts of Nebraska and Kansas to Iowa and Missouri. Cities that will see temperatures rise close to the century mark on at least one day include St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Neb., Dallas, Des Moines, Iowa, Pierre, S.D. and Bismarck, N.D.

For many locations across the Plains, the heat could last right through the Labor Day weekend.

The heat wave will bring some good and bad news for crops in the area, such as corn and soybeans.

The higher temperatures this week will speed up maturity of the crops, which had been delayed by lower temperatures and abnormally wet conditions earlier this summer. The dry weather will also aid in harvesting of some crops.

However in some cases, the heat may be so extreme that it stresses crops, especially in areas where there has been little or no rain in recent weeks.


The area of abnormally dry to moderate drought was expanding during August in parts of eastern Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Thunderstorms will fire on the rim of the massive area of heat across the northern tier states and into the Northeast. However, some of these storms could be severe with damaging winds and flash flooding.

The circulation around the massive area of high pressure will also drive a great deal of moisture into the Southwestern states from the tropics. Both beneficial rain and the risk of flash flooding from Ivo will continue to stream into portions of Arizona, southeastern California, Utah and Nevada through Monday.

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