The last week of August will be one of 95 to 100 degree temperatures.
Such heat is uncommon in late August, according to Rod Donavon, National Weather Service meteorologist, but not inexplicable.
“We’ve got a large area of high pressure across much of the Midwest and it’s really pushed a large area of unseasonable warm temperatures into the state, basically,” Donavon said. “Obviously, it is somewhat unprecedented to have this long of a stretch of warm temperature at the end of August, but we have had it happen in the past. The last time we’ve been this warm late in August was back in 1984.”
These temperatures would normally be experienced in early or mid-July, but this year and last they have come in late August and even early September.
“Even this would be warm in the middle of July. It’s really late this year,” Donavon said. “Typically, our warmest temperatures are mid-July to early August and this is the time we tend to cool down. We tend to have warmer spells right after schools start, but definitely it’s really late for having this number of 90-degree days in a row.”
The 90-degree heat is a problem for the homeless of Iowa, according to Steve Roe, Beacon of Hope men’s shelter director.
“We have guys come and just have a place to stay where it’s cool to get out of the heat during the day,” he said. “We provide those big gallons of water for the water cooler and we run out every week.”
Before this summer, the men’s shelter did not have air conditioning, Roe said.
“Last summer we had it in the dorm room, but we didn’t have it anywhere else. We feel very fortunate to have what we have now, because we know what it’s like,” he said. “An old building like this, when it gets hot inside it’s like an oven in here. We would be sitting around and we’d be just soaking wet because of the heat. And we just put up with it.”
The heat is dangerous for the homeless, Roe said.
“Men who have nowhere to go and they’re stuck outside, walking wherever they go, can get heat stroke,” he said. “In some of our warmer states, the No. 1 killer of homeless is the heat. And there’s not enough room in the shelters. It’s a huge problem. The homeless need to have air conditioning as much as they need to have heat in the winter because these conditions can very quickly put someone down.”
Jo Seltz, co-owner of The Dariette, said the heat has been a boon for the business.
“Our drive-through has been very busy,” Seltz said. “They’re wanting to come through, pick up that ice cream in their air-conditioned vehicle and head on out, and have that refreshing treat.”
Because of the heat, though, there has not been as much foot traffic.
“There’s fewer people sitting on the patio because of the heat. They’re staying in their vehicles and using the drive through,” Seltz said.
Schools dismissing early due to the heat has not benefited the business, Seltz said.
“We have not seen the waves of kids,” she said. “With the middle school being at its new location that has affected the youth coming for ice cream, but we’re seeing plenty of adults coming through.”
According to Donavon, there will be some relief after this week.
“We’ll gradually cool down a little bit over the weekend,” he said. “We’re still going to be having temperatures in the upper 80s to lower to mid-90s. The best chance for cooler weather to come down is Sunday night into Monday. We do have a cold front coming down, so we can expect temperatures in the upper 70s to mid-80s next week.”