Heat wave here to stay in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The hot weather that led to record warm temperatures in May continues, with no real end in sight, according to the National Weather Service.

Parts of western, northern and eastern Kentucky were placed under a heat advisory on Monday, where the heat index, a combination of temperature and humidity, was expected to top 100 degrees.

While all nine official weather stations had the warmest May in history, based on the average daily temperature, four of them are seeing among the 20 warmest Junes in history for the period June 1-17.

Both Frankfort and Paducah currently have their third-warmest June ever, Louisville stands at number eight, and Bowling Green ranks 13th all-time.

Joe Sullivan, forecaster for the NWS Office in Louisville, says this is a continuation of our May conditions. “The Jetstream, which separates the cold north from the warmer mid-latitudes, is way up in Canada, leaving most of the U.S. under a broad ridge, leading to the heat and humidity. In fact, the area has actually expanded.”

He says our ongoing heat wave is giving him cause for concern. “It started early this year, and prolonged heat can wear you down. This could become a big health concern for people as the summer wears on.”

According to Sullivan, there is not a big danger from drought this summer. “We have had isolated storms and downpours, and there is a lot of Gulf of Mexico moisture in the atmosphere, which has brought some heavy rain to some parts of Kentucky, although very little to others.”

As for how long our hot and humid conditions will continue, Sullivan said, “We will see a couple of disturbances making their way across Kentucky, but not enough to break down the ridge that has been in control since May. I see no significant change in the weather pattern for the next couple of weeks.”

Interestingly, the record warmth that began in May followed and April that at some weather recording stations in Kentucky was among the coldest on record. Sullivan said we had about one week of spring, between late winter and summer.

Kentuckians can expect have higher electric bills rise with the continuing heat and humidity.

“As temperatures climb, air conditioners and fans have to work harder and use more energy to keep homes cool,” said Cindy Wiseman, Kentucky Power’s managing director external affairs and customer services. “During extreme weather, customers may see spikes in their next bill. However, there are lots of ways customers can control their electric bills, even in extreme heat.”

There are simple measures you can put take to save money without jeopardizing comfort, including:

• Repair and weather strip air leaks in the home; up to 25 percent of energy used to cool homes escapes via leaks.

• Maintain consistent temperatures and monitor your thermostat settings.

• Install ceiling fans to circulate cool air throughout the house.

• Close drapes and shades on south-facing windows to block sun and heat during the day.

• Move furnishings away from floor or return air vents.

• Avoid using heat-producing appliances such as ovens or dryers during the hottest parts of the day.

There are also steps you can take to stay healthy during the heat wave, according to the National Weather Service…

· At job sites and during other outdoor activities, stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in the shade.

· Never leave kids or pets unattended in vehicles – “Look before you lock.”

· Check on the sick and elderly, neighbors and those without air conditioning.