Iowa expecting record-breaking heat as temperatures could reach 100 degrees Thursday

Isabella Rosario
Des Moines Register

Most of Iowa will experience dangerous heat Thursday as potentially record-breaking temperatures could hit 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

A heat advisory that stretches from Sioux City to Iowa City will be in effect from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. 

Highs will range from the upper 90s to around 100 degrees, with dewpoints mainly in the mid to upper 60s, according to the NWS. The added humidity may make temperatures feel anywhere from 98 degrees to 107 degrees.

If Des Moines gets to a predicted high of 100 degrees Thursday, the city will break its high-temperature record for June 17. On this day, the highest recorded temperature in Des Moines is 94 degrees, which was reached in 1897, 1913 and 1933, according to NWS data.

Franny Medeiros, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Polk County Health Department, said the county would not be opening cooling centers because Thursday’s heat is expected to be a one-day event. However, Medeiros urged people needing relief to seek out air-conditioned facilities open to the public, such as libraries and malls.

A heat advisory is in effect for parts of central and southern Iowa from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Temperatures will cool slightly into the weekend, with a high of 92 degrees predicted for Saturday and Sunday in Des Moines. By next week, things will cool down significantly as a Canadian high pressure drops into the region, the NWS says. Monday is expected to be sunny and breezy, with a high near 77.

As sweltering conditions impact the central plains region, the western U.S. is facing a "persistent and extreme heat wave," with likely highs from 110 to 120 degrees, according to the NWS. Cities in both regions could see "dozens of daily record high temperatures set," a short-range forecast discussion Thursday said.

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Tips for avoiding dangerous heat

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If air conditioning is not available, remain on the lowest floor and away from sunshine.
  • Use sunscreen with a high SPF rating.
  • Drink water regularly and limit alcoholic beverages. 
  • Eat well-balanced, light meals.
  • Slow down. Reduce, reschedule or eliminate strenuous activities.
  • Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
  • Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

Source: Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Isabella Rosario is a public safety reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at irosario@gannett.com or on Twitter at @irosarioc.