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Columbia heat index mapping project

With a cooler start to June, conditions are soon expected to change. A high-pressure ridge is expected to build overhead Central Missouri next week leading to dryer and well above average temperatures. On average, Columbia typically sees 10 days a year where the heat index surpasses 100 degrees.

Columbia Missouri is ranked as the fourth highest populated city in Missouri. Many large buildings are densely packed in the center of the city. Due to this density and the number of buildings and vast number of concrete roadways confined in a smaller area, Columbia is affected by a phenomenon called Urban Heat Island. The large number of structures consisting of bricks and concrete absorb the sun's heat and energy at a higher rate leading to a local increase in temperatures when compared to nearby areas. When there is an increase in humidity paired with an increase in temperature that feels like temperature known as the heat index rises.

The City of Columbia is paired with many organizations such as the National Weather Service to take part in the collection of data. This data will represent the heat index at different locations around Columbia at different times on a specified day.

The city needs help from as many volunteers as possible to help record a one-hour increment of data of specified routes in order to properly map the city's heat distribution to pinpoint areas of concern. To sign up to become a volunteer visit and fill out an interest form. Teams will consist of a driver and a navigator.

The current 6-10 Day temperature outlook is following a warmer than average trend as a result of the upcoming high-pressure ridge. This will lead to increased chances of seeing dangerous heat index's surpassing the 100-degree threshold. At 105 degrees, the ABC17 StormTrack Team issues a Weather Alert Day to help get you the viewer prepared for dangerously hot conditions.

Article Topic Follows: Weather

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Chance Gotsch

Chance Gotsch grew up just south of St. Louis and moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in Atmospheric Sciences.

His interest in weather begin as a child when he used to be afraid of storms.

Chance joined the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team in February 2021. He is currently the weekday noon meteorologist.


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