A heat advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service office in Springfield for central and southern Missouri, in effect through 9 p.m. July 28 due to expected heat index values of up to 109 degrees and limited overnight relief.
The advisory was issued at 11 a.m. Wednesday, and while it is set to expire Friday evening, meteorologists expect hot conditions to continue through the weekend with heat index values staying consistently between 100 and 108 degrees each day, noting that the advisory may need to be extended if the trend continues.
Daytime temperatures are forecast to be around 98 and 99 degrees through Saturday, dropping slightly to the mid-90s through Tuesday. Overnight temperatures are expected to be in the low 70s through Tuesday.
All are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioning and out of the sun, and check in on relatives and neighbors. Young children and animals should never be left alone in cars in any circumstance, but in hot weather, doing so can have fatal results very quickly.
Those working outdoors should try to do any strenuous activities in the early morning or evening, when it is cooler, and know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing when possible, and take frequent breaks in the shade or in air conditioning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn heat stroke is the most serious illness caused by exposure to extreme heat, and if it is suspected, 911 should be called immediately.
Signs of heat stroke include a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher; skin that is hot, red, dry or damp; a fast, strong pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and loss of consciousness or fainting.
A person suspected to be suffering from heat stroke should be moved to a cooler place after 911 is called, and his or her body temperature lowered with cool cloths or a cool bath. The CDC stresses that drinks should not be offered to anyone thought to be suffering from heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is a less urgent but still significant illness that can be brought on by exposure to high temperatures. The CDC notes to watch for heavy sweating; cold, pale and clammy skin; a fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; tiredness or weakness; dizziness; headache; and fainting.
The CDC recommends that one suffering from heat exhaustion should move to a cool place, loosen clothing, sip water and cool the body with wet, cool cloths or a cool bath.
Medical treatment should be sought if one is throwing up or symptoms get worse or last longer than an hour.
For more signs and symptoms of illnesses caused by exposure to extreme heat, visit the CDC online at www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.
As of press time, cooling centers in West Plains include the West Plains Public Library, 750 W. Broadway., open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and the West Plains Senior Center, 416 E. Main St., from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m weekdays. The civic center, 110 St. Louis St., will also be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Senior centers in Willow Springs, 501 Senior Lane; Mtn. View, 905 E. Fifth St.; Alton, 204 S. Main St.; Thayer, 100 Chestnut St.; Winona, 212 Snapper St; Eminence, 108 Grey Jones Drive; Summersville, 129 Rogers Ave.; Cabool, 910 Cherry St.; Houston, 301 S. Grand Ave.; Mtn. Grove, 700 E. State St.; Ava, 108 NE Second St.; and Gainesville, 515 Ozark County Road 800; will also be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Oregon, Shannon and Texas county health department locations will also be open both days. The Oregon County Health Department location in Alton will be open from 8 a.m. 4 to p.m. with an hour lunchtime closure, at 4 Court Square. The Shannon County Health Center, 18018 Grey Jones Drive in Eminence, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Texas County facility, 950 N. U.S. 63 in Houston, will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Libraries in Cabool, Mtn. Grove, Ava, Myrtle, Winona and Summersville will be open as follows: Cabool Public Library, 418 Walnut St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Mtn. Grove Library, 206 N. Greene Ave., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour lunchtime closure at 11 a.m.; Douglas County Public Library, 301 SW Third Ave., Ava, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Myrtle Public Library, 1 V Highway, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Winona Public Library, 106 N. Ash St., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with a lunchtime closure from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m; and Summersville, 139 Rogers Ave., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
The Ozarks Family YMCA in Mtn. Grove will also be available from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Those needing to find a place to keep cool Thursday and Friday can also visit the Missouri Cooling Centers Map, data.mo.gov/Health/Missouri-Cooling-Centers-Map/2wki-9iz8, to search for one nearby. The map is updated as facilities report to the state.