Record breaking summer heat arrives early

Forecast calls for fourth record-breaking day in a row

News editor

Summerlike temperatures struck Kansas ahead of schedule this week, but that didn’t stop Forrest Kelsey from planting flowers in his yard Monday afternoon as temperatures surpassed 90 degrees.

“Every now and then I take a break and come sit in the shade,” Kelsey said of his strategy for staying cool. “At 85, you take all the breaks you can get.”

He was planting moss rose, the last of his spring planting projects after getting in five hibiscus plants, two Boston ferns, as well as petunias, geraniums, and tomato plants.

Kelsey said he was trying to avoid turning on his air conditioning as long as possible to avoid higher city bills. Marion City Council voted in March to raise the base electrical rate and add a monthly adjustment based on fuel costs for the Kansas Power Pool.

Kelsey and his wife, Bea, are relying on ceiling fans, which they have in almost every room of their house in Marion, but they aren’t sure how long they can hold out.

“It has changed so fast from winter to summer,” Bea Kelsey said.

Unlike the Kelseys, Marion Middle School turned on its air conditioning to deal with the heat Monday. Principal Missy Stubenhofer called Superintendent Lee Leiker about turning on the air conditioning as soon as she got back from a morning meeting.

“I just called Lee and said it’s unbearably hot,” Stubenhofer said. “There’s not much else you can do.”

The middle school’s windows open, but not in a way that allows air to circulate well. When Stubenhofer got back from her meeting, places in the middle school were as hot as 84 degrees. Even with air conditioning on, visitors could feel the temperature rise with every couple of steps up the stairs.

At sports practices, coaches said they would be sure athletes got plenty of opportunities to hydrate, but they needed to acclimate to the heat before Tuesday’s games.

One Marion resident declined to give his name while mowing in the heat but offered advice or people to beat the heat.

“Drink a little cold beer,” he said.

It should be noted that alcohol can actually cause a person to feel warmer by dilating blood vessels.

Heat smashes records

Sunday’s high temperature reached 99 degrees, 27 degrees above the average for May 4 and 13 degrees above the record.

Monday’s high was 93 degrees. The average for May 5 in Marion is 72, and the previous record was 90. Tuesday’s temperatures reached the upper 90s. The average for May 6 in Marion is 72, and the previous record was 86.

A high of 95 degrees was forecast for today. The record was 89 in 2004. Relief is in the forecast for Thursday, though, with cloudy and possibly stormy weather projected to result in a high temperature of 79 degrees.

 

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