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Thunderstorms, Heavy Rain and Heat in the Memorial Day Forecast

Strong to severe thunderstorms and heavy rain with possible flash flooding are expected from Texas to the Upper Mississippi Valley on Memorial Day. Also, a soaking rain with flooding is expected across south-central Florida. Meanwhile, a week of record breaking heat is going to get started across California into the Southwest and Great Basin, as excessive heat warnings stretch across the region. Read More >

Summer Weather Safety Week

Excessive Heat and Lightning

June 18th-22th, 2018

The National Weather Service (NWS) have joined together with other local and state agencies to promote Missouri and Kansas Summer Weather Safety Week 2018: Excessive Heat and Lightning. The following is important safety information that can save peoples lives. Please help spread the word about excessive heat and lightning safety so everyone can have a safe summer.

Join the National Weather Service in building a Weather Ready Nation by promoting the following weather safety information.

Heat Safety Ligthning Safety  |  Flood Safety  |  UV Safety


Before heading to the park, lake, scenic river, ball game or to any outdoor activity be ready for unexpected or even hazardous weather conditions. Get the latest forecast before heading out

  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, local media, or favorie weather app.
  • Pay attention to changing weather conditions (changing skies , winds, or tempertatures)
  • Listen for thunder
  • Monitor stream levels
  • Be aware of the effects fo excessive heat

Summer Safety YouTube Videos

Beat the Heat

Lightning Safety

Flash Flood Safety

Summer Safety PDFs

Heat Safety Tips

Lightning Safety Tips   

Flash Flood Safety Tips





Heat Safety

excessive heat events guidebook cover













Heaty Safety Tips (PDF)  |  Heat Chart  |  NWS Heat Safety  |  |  DHSS Hyperthermia & GuidebookCDC


Symptoms of Heat Disorders

First Aid
Sunburn Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches. Take a shower, using soap, to remove oils that may block pores preventing the body from cooling naturally. If blisters occur, apply dry, sterile dressings and get medical attention.
Heat Cramps Painful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles. Heavy sweating. Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue.
Heat Exhaustion Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Weak pulse. Normal temperature possible. Fainting, vomiting Get victim to lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting occurs, seek immediate medical attention.

Heat Stroke

High body temperature (106+). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Victim will likely not sweat. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. Move victim to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing. Use fans and/or air conditioners. DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.

You can help yourself and others avoid experiencing the HEAT DISORDERS (above) by following these safety rules.

  • Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness. Shopping malls offer relief if your home is not air-conditioned. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember, electric fans do not cool, they just blow hot air around.
  • Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Lightweight, light-colored clothing that reflects heat and sunlight and helps maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin's ability to cool itself. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
  • Drink FOR the Heat. Drink plenty of water and natural juices, even if you don't feel thirsty. Even under moderately strenuous outdoor activity, the rate your body can absorb fluids is less than the rate it loses water due to perspiration. However, if you have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restrictive diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Do not drink IN the Heat. Avoid alcoholic beverages and beverages with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and cola. Alcohol and caffeine constrict blood vessels near the skin reducing the amount of heat the body can release. Although beer and alcohol beverages appear to satisfy thirst, they actually cause further body dehydration.
  • Eat for the Heat. Eat small meals more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein because they increase metabolic heat. Avoid using salt tablets, unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Living in the Heat. Slow down. Reduce, eliminate, or reschedule strenuous activities such as running, biking and lawn care work when it heats up. The best times for such activities are during early morning and late evening hours. Take cool baths or showers and use cool, wet towels.
  • Learn the symptoms of heat disorders and know how to give first aid.

Thinking About Others

  • Do not leave children in a closed vehicle, even for a few minutes. This is a "No-Brainer". Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach 140°F-190°F degrees within 30 minutes on a hot, sunny day. However, despite this common sense rule, deaths from heat occur almost every Summer when someone leaves their child in a closed vehicle.
  • When outdoors, protect small children from the sun, their skin is sensitive.
  • Help your pets keep their cool. It will "feel" as hot for them as it will for you. As with children, do not leave your pets in a closed vehicle. Be sure your animals have access to shade and a water bowl full of cold, clean water. Dogs don't tolerate heat well because they don't sweat. Their bodies get hot and stay hot. During summer heat, avoid outdoor games or jogging with your pet. If you would not walk across hot, sunbaked asphalt barefoot, don't make your dog walk on it either. (Dogs can also get blisters on their paws from hot pavement.)
  • Learn the symptoms of heat disorders and know how to give first aid.

Never Leave Children, Disabled Adults or Pets in Parked Vehicles


The graph above is courtesy of San Jose State University, which offers more details on how these deaths occured, age of victims, etc. Use of this graph does not imply NWS endorsement of services provided by San Jose State University. Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults.  Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

Courtesy of San Francisco State University. Use of this graph does not imply NWS endorsement of services provided by San Francisco State University.




How Fast Can the Sun Heat a Car?

parked vehicleThe sun's shortwave radiation (yellow in figure below) heats objects that it strikes.  For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to over 200°F. These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation (red in figure below) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.

Shown below are time lapse photos of thermometer readings in a car over a period of less than an hour. As the animation shows, in just over 2 minutes the car went from a safe temperature to an unsafe temperature of 94.3°F. This demonstration shows just how quickly a vehicle can become a death trap for a child.


Objects Heated by the Sun Warm Vehicle's Air

( Hi-Res ~ 2.5 mb.WMV file)
Individual Frames:
0 min, 10 min, 20 min, 30 min, 40 min, 50 min, 60 min
Animation Courtesy of General Motors and San Francisco State University. Use of this animation does not imply NWS endorsement of services provided by General Motors and San Francisco State University.
Hyperthermia deaths aren't confined to summer months. They also happen during the spring and fall. Below are some examples.

The atmosphere and the windows of a car are relatively transparent to the sun’s shortwave radiation yellow in figure below) and are warmed little. This shortwave energy, however, does heat objects it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180°F to more than 200°F. These objects, e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, childseat, heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and give off longwave radiation (infrared), which efficiently warms the air trapped inside a vehicle. Learn more about excessive heat and cars.

Safety Tips for Concerning Children


  • Make sure your child's safety seat and safety belt buckles aren't too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks--even at home--and keep keys out of children's reach.
  • Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don't leave sleeping infants in the car ever!

Missouri Heat Related Deaths*

Year 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Deaths 25 17 18 14 52 52  26 11 10  34 25 25 3 17


Heat Related Deaths: 1980 - 2016:   1272

More Hyperthermia statistics for Missouri


To advise you of the potential of excessive heat, NWS Springfield will issue:

Heat advisory: Heat index around 105 degrees or greater, or 4 days or more of a heat index greater than 100.

Excessive Heat Warning: Heat index of 105 for 4 days OR a heat index of 110 degrees or greater.

Hazardous weather outlook: Daily at 6 am and 1 pm to highlight the potential of any hazardous weather over the next few days. 


Lighting Safety




When you are outdoors enjoying the many recreational opportunities in the Ozarks, you should be especially alert for changing weather conditions and know what to do if thunder is heard or lightning is observed.  Tragedies in school sponsored athletics are unfortunately a growing trend as well.  When thunderstorms threaten, coaches and officials must not let the desire to start or finish an athletic activity or event cloud their judgement when the safety of participants and spectators is in jeopardy. While many people think they are aware of the dangers of lightning, the vast majority are not. Lightning can strike as much as 10 miles away from the rain area of a thunderstorm; that's about the distance that you are able to hear the thunder from the storm

Here are lightning safety and planning resources for outdoor recreational interests and event planning.

Lightning Safety Tips (PDF)  | Outdoor Lightning Safety  |    Lightning Safety for Large Venues  | Safer Design


Remember, there is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm. If you absolutely can't get to safety, this section may help you slightly lessen the threat of being struck by lightning while outside. Don't kid yourself--you are NOT safe outside

Outdoor safety:

  • If camping, hiking, etc., far from a safe vehicle or building, avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting.
  • Stay away from water, wet items (such as ropes) and metal objects (such as fences and poles). Water and metal are excellent conductors of electricity. Remember, lightning can strike up to 10 miles from the rain area. Plus the current from a lightning flash can easily travel for long distances
Indoor Safety:
  • Stay there! The best protection from lightning is a house or other substantial building. However, stay away from windows, doors, and metal pipes.
  • Do not use electric appliances during the storm. Turn off sensitive equipment such as televisions, VCR's, and computers.
  • Telephone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. Do not make a call unless it is an emergency.

Missouri Lightning Deaths

Year 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Deaths 0 1 2 1 1 0 3 1  2  1 2 0



Kansas Lightning Deaths

Year 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Deaths 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0  1  1 1 0



The 3 Deaths in Missouri in 2011 tied with Utah for most in the United States in 2011. The above covers reports received by the National Weather Service in Missouri. Historically, deaths and injuries from lightning have been very under reported.

United States Lightning Deaths: Analysis 2006 through 2016

United States Lightning Deaths: Thus far in 2017


In Missouri there have been 101 deaths attributed to lightning from 1959 - 2016, an average of 2 deaths per year. In comparison, the the average number of deaths caused by tornadoes since 1950 has risen to 6. So overall, we are doing better in terms of lightning safety.  

One lightning stoke can generate between 100 million and 1 billion volts of electricity!

Number and rank of cloud-to-ground flashes by state 2006 - 2016


Flood Safety

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard.  Why?  The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water.

Be especialy alert when camping near or floating on area streams and rivers.  Water levels can rise rapidy and without little if any notice.  Heavy rain upstream can cause flash floods even thougth it may be sunny at your location. 

Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream.  Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive across a flooded road.

One of the primary flood hazards and causes of flood related deaths across the Ozarks is driving into low water crossings.  Every year a few adventurous drivers attempt to cross flooded roads and fail.  Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, Turn around Don't Drown. You will not know the depth of the water nor the condition of the road under the water.



Water weighs 62.4 lbs. per cubic foot and typically flows downstream at 6 to 12
mph.  When a vehicle stalls in the water, the water'smomentum is transferred to the car.  For each foot the water rises, 500 lbs. of lateral force is applied to the automobile.But the biggest factor is bouyancy. 
For each foot the water rises up the side of the car, the car displaces 1500 lbs of water.  In effect, the automobile weighs 1500 lbs less for each foot the water rises.  18 to 24 inches of of water will carry away most automobiles!













UV Safety

Outdoor recreational opportunities to enjoy the Summer sun abound in the Ozarks region.  However, extended time in the sun can be harmful.  Before heading to the lake, floating, or to the ball game, make sure to take proper precautions to protect your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays.

For much more UV information and UV forecasts, go to the following sites:

NWS UV Safety Information

Environmental Protection Agency UV Information

UV Index Scale


UV Index Number Exposure Level
2 or less Low
3 to 5 Moderate
6 to 8 High
8 to 10 Very High
11+ Extreme


Action Steps for Sun Safety

Do NOT Burn

Sunburns significantly increase one's lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.


No TanningAvoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds

UV radiation from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling.


Generously Apply Sunscreen

Generously apply about one ounce of sunscreen to cover all exposed skin 15 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 and provide broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

CoverupWear Protective Clothing

Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when possible.


Seek Shade

Seek Shade

Seek shade when possible, and remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.


BeachUse Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand

Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.


UV Index

Check the UV Index

The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun overexposure. The UV Index forecast is issued daily by the National Weather Service and EPA.


Vitamin DGet Vitamin D Safely

Get Vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D. Don't seek the sun.