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It's hot. High temperatures and a lack of rain have brought about the country's widest-ranging drought since the 1950s. The entire state of Missouri has been declared a federal disaster area, along with 82 counties in Kansas. Crops are struggling to survive, and so are cattle farmers who can't feed their livestock.

Don't Let The Heat Get You Down


The forecast this weekend calls for at least 100-degree heat Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the high temperatures are supposed to stick around for several weeks after that.

If you're not sure you're doing everything it takes to stay cool in these extreme temperatures, below are recommendations from the City of Kansas City, Mo., and the National Weather Service.

  • Avoid getting too much sun.
  • Postpone outdoor activities and games.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes, such as taking a cool shower immediately after coming inside from hot temperatures.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible during the heat of the day in an air-conditioned environment. Do not, they say, use a fan as a primary source of cooling. They suggest that, if your home has no air conditioning, you visit a public building (like a library, a movie theater or community center) with AC for several hours during the day.
  • If you're stuck somewhere without air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine.
  • Check frequently on neighbors, friends and relatives who spend a lot of time alone.
  • Never leave children, pets or anyone alone in closed vehicles: The temperature inside a car can reach 140 degrees within minutes. It's like an oven in there.
  • If you have to work outside or in non-air-conditioning, take frequent breaks, rest in the shade and drink plenty of water.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help maintain normal body temperature. If you're working outside, make sure your skin is covered to avoid sunburn.
  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible and refill their water bowls frequently.

People living in urban areas are at high risk for heat-related problems, as most big cities have poor air quality (an ozone alert was issued for the Greater Kansas City area on Friday) and stagnant atmospheric conditions which trap pollutants in the air, leading to respiratory issues. The concrete and asphalt store heat longer and release heat gradually at night, creating a "heat island" effect that causes higher evening temperatures.

Others especially at risk include older folks, children and people with chronic diseases.

It's still safe to have fun and celebrate the weekend, just be sure to stay as cool as possible and to only dress the dog in lightweight clothing.

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