'Take extra precautions' as the dangerous heat index could reach 105 in parts of Iowa

·4 min read

The National Weather Service issued heat advisories for all but three Iowa counties Tuesday as a combination of heat and relative humidity could make conditions feel like more than 105 degrees Tuesday.

Des Moines has a forecast high of 99 degrees Tuesday and heat indices could at make it feel as hot as 107 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Heat indices between 100 degrees and 109 degrees are possible in central Iowa Tuesday, according to the NWS.

High heat and high humidity caused the NWS to issue heat advisories Tuesday in an area from northwest Kansas to western West Virginia and from southern Minnesota to northern Louisiana. Parts of Kansas, Missouri and Illinois were under excessive heat warnings.

A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. for central Iowa. Heat advisories were issued in every Iowa county but Lyon, Osceola and Dickinson counties in northwest Iowa. Heat advisories are issued when heat indices are expected to reach 105 to 109 degrees, according to the NWS.

Heat indices across Iowa could make conditions feel like 106 degrees or hotter on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.
Heat indices across Iowa could make conditions feel like 106 degrees or hotter on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

"Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening," the heat advisory said. "Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke."

Severe thunderstorms are expected to move from northwest Iowa to southeast Iowa throughout the evening. The strongest storms could hit northwest Iowa. Damaging winds and heavy rainfall are the biggest threats, according to the NWS.

Severe thunderstorms will travel from northwest to southeast Iowa on the evening of Tuesday, July 5, 2022, according to the National Weather Service.
Severe thunderstorms will travel from northwest to southeast Iowa on the evening of Tuesday, July 5, 2022, according to the National Weather Service.

Tips from the Polk County Health Department for staying cool:

  • Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, because they can dehydrate you.

  • Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors. Spend at least two hours in air conditioning each day.

  • Try to avoid being outdoors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the weather tends to be the hottest.

More than 30 locations in Polk County serve as cooling centers, including the five Des Moines libraries and Merle Hay Mall.

A full list of cooling centers in Des Moines and its suburbs, including addresses and hours, is available online at polkcountyiowa.gov.

Tips, recommendations to prevent car deaths in the heat

Safety experts recommend special measures for parents of young children to help them remember to remove them from the car — especially in summer weather. On average nationwide, about 40 children younger than 15 die each year after being left in hot cars. Vehicles act as virtual ovens in hot weather, because temperatures can soar past 120 degrees even when the outdoor air temperature is in the 80s.

Here are some recommendations for parents and guardians, from safety research and advocacy websites NoHeatstroke.org and KidsAndCars.org:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even for a few minutes or in moderate temperatures.

  • Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and move it to the front seat when a child is strapped in as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

  • Place your purse, briefcase or cell phone in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

  • Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.

  • Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.

  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.

  • If a child goes missing, check the inside and trunk of all cars in the area immediately.

  • Teach children to honk the horn if they get stuck inside a car.

  • Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.

  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.  If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Des Moines' average July temperature is 85.6 degrees, according to the NWS. Gradually temperatures will decrease to closer to average levels, according to the NWS.

Wednesday's high is forecast at 92 degrees, according to the NWS. Thursday and Friday have forecast highs of 88 degrees and 85 degrees.

More rain showers and thunderstorms are likely Wednesday and Thursday.

Philip Joens covers public safety, city government and RAGBRAI for the Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-443-3347 at pjoens@registermedia.com or on Twitter @Philip_Joens. 

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Heat advisory issued for Iowa, weather forecast near 100 degrees temps