Record Heat Wave in Iowa
The Quad Cities in the grip of extreme temperatures
In Iowa's Quad Cities, the temperatures have been record-breaking.
On Tuesday, the temperature reached 100 degrees in Bettendorf. And on some days the heat index — how it feels outside — reached 120 degrees. There has been little relief at nighttime. Usually, temperatures cool off when the sun goes down. But Monday, the temperature was 78 degrees at night, a record high temperature for an overnight low.
Kevin Phelps, meteorologist for KWQC News, told Scholastic News that this has been the longest stretch of weather with temperatures this high in the Quad Cities since the 1930s.
The extreme heat has affected a lot of people, especially young people and the elderly.
"They can get heat exhaustion or heat stroke. When you get heat exhaustion you can get dizzy or tired and your face will get flushed," Kathleen Hanson, a registered nurse, told the Kids Press Corps. "And with heat stroke you can faint or your heart won't beat right and your brain might not work right. Then your body will run a temperature because you lost a lot of water and get dehydrated."
Heat stroke, dehydration, and other heat-related conditions have caused hospital emergency rooms to be busier.
"Whenever the weather gets this hot, there is always an increase in patients because of the heat-related illnesses and concerns," Dr. Paul Bolger said.
It can be hard to work in the heat, and a lot of citizens have to.
Wally Mook works for the City of Bettendorf. He said that 82 people work for the Public Works Department and that 25 or 30 of them work outside.
"Luckily we haven't had any heat-related injuries in the time that I have worked for the city the past 17 years," he said. "And I hope we won't have any."
Staying cool in the extreme heat has been difficult. Families are using their air conditioners more, which is causing some to break down. And as more people have relied more heavily on air conditioning, energy usage has increased.
"In the history of [MidAmerican Energy], we have hit a new record for energy usage," Tina Potthoff of MidAmerican Energy told the Kids Press Corps.
She encourages people to be energy efficient by keeping the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer, and to keep the curtains closed on hot, sunny days.
To help people beat the heat, Davenport, Moline, and Rock Island have set up cooling stations. The cooling center is open for people to escape the heat and come in to sit.
Joan Clark works at both the Moline and Rock Island Centers. She said that only a few people have come to the cooling center on a given day, and she's worried about the people left in the heat.
"The media has done a great job of getting word out there about the center," Clark said. But she believes that some people aren't coming to the centers because they don't have a television, radio, or other means to hear about the cooling centers.
When the heat gets really bad, like it is in the Quad Cities, it's important to be very careful and stay safe if you're going to be in the heat.
Kevin Phelps, the KWQC News meteorologist, has this advice: "Drink plenty of water, stay indoors as much as you can, and save the outdoor work for when it's cooler outside."
Kathleen Hanson agreed, adding, "The heat can be hard on elderly people and younger children so remember to watch out for them and keep them protected.
"People should really follow this advice."
Why has it been so hot? And when will the extreme heat end? Kid Reporter Christine O'Toole finds out!
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