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What to expect during Kansas City’s historic heat wave

The Kansas City metro saw record heat indexes in the past week — a trend that is likely to continue at least through this weekend. Here’s how you can prepare.

Picture of KC skyline at sunset with fall colors

Photo by @mikedayphotography

Warm words

The Kansas City metro made weather history. On Sunday, Aug. 20, KC hit a record breaking heat index of 118.°

The entire metro’s heat index hovered around 115°-130°. Lawrence, KS even reached a sweltering heat index of 134°. This trend is likely to continue through at least Thursday, Aug. 24, according to the National Weather Service.

How historic is this heat wave?

The previous heat index record was 117° in 2002. KC tied this record earlier this year on both Wednesday, July 26 and Wednesday, Aug. 19.

How hot will it get this week?

Wednesday, Aug. 23-Friday, Aug. 25, temperatures will hover in the upper 90s, lower 100s. Heat indexes will average between 100°-115°.

What caused the heat wave?

Hot air is blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico. So, record-breaking heat here in KC is caused by the record-breaking heat there.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Gulf of Mexico’s heat wave has been ongoing since spring 2023. NOAA predicts there’s at least a 70% chance the gulf’s heat wave will last through October 2023.

If that happens, the KC region could expect more heat waves deep into fall.

Keep your energy bills low

Extreme heat means your air conditioning unit must run longer — so plan for higher energy bills during this time. But worry not, your wallet doesn’t have to unwittingly suffer.

Here’s a few tips to keep your bill as low as possible.

  • Close vents in unused rooms.
  • Get an HVAC pro to tune your A/C unit.
  • Install a smart thermostat for automatic adjustments.
  • Set fans to run counterclockwise.
  • Seal gaps around door frames and windows.
  • Pressure wash your house — dirt and grime trap heat, making your house hotter.