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The urban heat island effect


Widespread heat will be a concern as we continue into the weekend, but some areas of mid-Missouri could be dealing with more intense heat compared to others. There is a phenomenon called the urban heat island effect, and it impacts us here in mid-Missouri, specifically in cities such as Columbia or Jefferson City and the surrounding areas.

Obviously, when we call this phenomenon an “island”, we do not mean an area surrounded by water. In fact, we mean an area that is surrounded by different temperatures. Cities are typically made up of roads, buildings, and a lot of concrete. That concrete and building material absorbs more of that sun’s energy and leads to higher temperatures for the surrounding areas. 

This often causes greater heat impacts, especially on days like what we’re expecting to see this weekend with temperatures rising into the mid-90s, in those cities. Rural areas on the other hand, do not have the same amount of heat absorbers present, so they do not have that added heat to deal with. 

No matter what this weekend, we are all going to have to deal with intense heat. If you are in a city, you may want to be extra prepared for this summer high pressure system for the upcoming days.

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Maddie Est

Maddie Est appears on ABC 17’s weekend evening broadcasts. She grew up in St. Louis, and her passion for weather originated from a young age thanks to all the different weather that St. Louis receives. She is currently studying Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri.


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