The air temperature hasn't quite hit 100 degrees yet -- the weather station at the Cape Girardeau airport is sitting at 99°F as I type this -- but the heat index has easily surpassed the forecast.
At 1 PM, the temperature at the airport was 96°F with humidity at a grotesque 64 percent, producing a heat index of 120°F. This seems to be the highest in the area, except for an unofficial report of 125°F at Jackson High School.
The air temperatures have been higher elsewhere (103°F at Paducah, 102°F at St. Louis Lambert Airport, 104°F at Jonesboro, Arkansas). However, Cape seems to be "enjoying" the highest levels of humidity, producing our very nice heat indices. (By comparison, the humidity is 29% at Jonesboro, so the heat index is "only" 109°F down there.)
In their afternoon discussion, the forecasters at the National Weather Service in Paducah say, "DEW POINTS IN THE MID 70S TO LOWER 80S HAVE PRODUCED ALMOST UNBELIEVABLE HEAT INDICES ANYWHERE FROM 110 TO 122 DEGREES. VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE RISE IN TEMPS DESPITE THE HIGH DEW POINTS."
It's never a good sign when professional meteorologists use phrases like "unbelievable" and "very impressed with."
Even if Cape doesn't reach the century mark today, we probably will tomorrow, when even hotter temperatures are expected. The only good news is that the humidity is expected to be lower, so we shouldn't see heat indices above 120 again.
Well... scratch that. After a somewhat drier and cooler weekend, yet another heat wave is expected next week capable of bringing similar temperatures and humidity as today. Goodie!
Meanwhile, the rest of August isn't looking too cool either, with above-average temperatures expected over a majority of the country: