Wednesday Evening Update: This blog has an updated forecast video and heat index tracker through Friday.
The ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team has issued a Weather Alert Day through Thursday as dangerous heat is expected to impact much of the country, including Mid-Missouri.
Heat index values could be in excess of 105 degrees, making it tough to complete any work or exercise outdoors.
Upper level high pressure begins to force the jet stream north, blocking any disturbances from cooling the area down. Winds pick up from the south, allowing more moisture to surge into the region starting Sunday. Dew point temperatures will reach the lower 70s, making the air uncomfortably humid.
This pattern looks to hold on all week, with a weak cold front possibly bringing storms and cooling us down Thursday into Friday, but we'll still be about 5 degrees above average on Thursday with highs in the upper 90s.
High temperatures through Thursday will reach the upper 90s to near 100, but records won't be in jeopardy as most of this week's high temperature records sit in the 100-110 degree range.
The combination of sizzling high temperatures and dew points in the 70s will force heat indices in the 103-108 range through Thursday. This combination can quickly become dangerous because it's very hard for the body to cool itself through sweating thanks to the high humidity.
Try to limit outdoor exercise to around sunrise or sunset. Stay hydrated by drinking more water than usual, and supplement with low sugar sports drinks with electrolytes. If you must work outside during the day, plan to take plenty of breaks.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is characterized by excessive sweating, feeling dizzy, nauseous, and crampy with a weak pulse. Ways to treat it include getting into a cool room, drink water, and take a cool shower.
Heat stroke can be deadly and is different from heat exhaustion in that the person will stop sweating, skin will be dry, hot, and red, and the person will have a rapid, strong pulse. The person may become unconscious and 911 should be called if heat stroke is suspected.
Always, always check the backseat of your car for pets and children. The temperature inside the car can rise up past 130 degrees when air temperatures are at 95 after just a few minutes with the engine shut off. Pets need cool shelter with plenty of cool water. Limit their walks to early morning and near sunset, and try to keep their paws off hot pavement as extreme temperatures can cause burns to their paws.