Area gets one-day break from 100-plus temperatures

Thursday, July 5, 2012
A pick-up truck splashes through a puddle as it heads south on Main Street Tuesday afternoon, July 3, 2012 in Cape Girardeau. Rain poured down over the area Tuesday afternoon. (Laura Simon)

Cape Girardeau and much of Southeast Missouri finally broke the stranglehold of triple-digit highs Tuesday, the first day the high temperature failed to reach the century mark since June 28.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Neffert, rainfall and cloud cover held temperatures down, breaking the five-day streak with a high of 92. Temperatures reached 103 degrees last Thursday, 107 Friday, 105 Saturday, 103 Sunday and 101 Monday.

However, Tuesday's respite was brief.

"Independence Day through at least Saturday, we're going to see temperatures at 100 degrees or higher," National Weather Service meteorologist Christine Wielgos said Tuesday. "After today, the next four days look like real scorchers."

Wednesday's temperatures peaked at 103 shortly before 3 p.m., the National Weather Service said, breaking the July 4 record of 102 set in 1969.

An excessive heat warning is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday.

The break in heat happened just as Scott County emergency management announced the opening of cooling centers in several spots in the county: the Chaffee Senior Center at 800 S. Main St., Chaffee; Miner Baptist Church, 416 Route H, Miner; Scott City Senior Center, 104 W. Hickory Drive, Scott City; Sikeston Nutrition Center and Sikeston Senior Center, 305 Cresap St., Sikeston; and the Sikeston Public Library, 121 E. North St., Sikeston.

The Osage Centre in Cape Girardeau also remained open on a day-to-day basis as a Red Cross cooling center.

Wielgos said a slight break in temperatures is possible early next week. She said there is a chance of rain in the forecast beginning Sunday, albeit a low chance. Temperatures should fall into the mid- to lower 90s as a result of the increased cloud cover, she said.

Neffert said Sunday's rain was not enough to make up the moisture deficit caused by the drought, listed as "extreme" in Southeast Missouri by the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Cape Girardeau Regional Airport officially received 0.05 inches of rain Sunday, although isolated areas may have received up to two inches, Neffert said. Only a trace amount of rain was measured Tuesday at the airport, though larger amounts fell in other areas near Cape Girardeau.

As a result of the drought, Cape Girardeau's water usage has increased substantially, said Kevin Priester, head of Alliance Water Resources, the city's water supplier. Priester said Alliance facilities reached a combined record 9.3 million-gallon output during the recent heat wave. The city of Cape Girardeau gets its water from two facilities, the Cape Rock Water Treatment Plant and the Ramsey Branch Water Plant, which are able to pump 7.6 million and 2.8 million gallons per day, respectively, for a combined maximum output of 10.4 million gallons.

In 1996, the Cape Rock Water Treatment Plant, before its expansion, was able to pump only 4.5 million gallons of water, less than half of Cape Girardeau's record total water usage.


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