Heat index: 110: Drought monitor says Stutsman abnormally dryAt 3 p.m. Thursday Jamestown was holding the honors for the highest heat index in North Dakota. With an official air temperature of 98 degrees and a dew point of 75 degrees, the National Weather Service calculated a heat index of 110 degrees here.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
At 3 p.m. Thursday Jamestown was holding the honors for the highest heat index in North Dakota.
With an official air temperature of 98 degrees and a dew point of 75 degrees, the National Weather Service calculated a heat index of 110 degrees here.
The hot weather caused people to flock to the swimming pool and other places where they could stay cool and hydrated.
“The heat index is a combination of the actual temperature and humidity,” said Janine Vining, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck. “In North Dakota we issue heat warnings when the index is expected to reach 95 and 105 degrees.”
Eastern North Dakota had higher humidity levels reflected by higher dew points. Western North Dakota had higher temperatures but drier air.
“Bismarck reached 103 degrees today (Thursday),” Vining said. “But their dew point was 55 degrees so the heat index was 101.”
The High Plains Drought Monitor, issued by the National Climatic Data Center Thursday, included the Stutsman County area as being abnormally dry.
Areas to the west have normal moisture while areas to the east have a drought index indicating moderate drought.
The heat Thursday was the highest recorded this summer season and continued a dry spell that has prompted an increase in water usage in Jamestown.
“The water usage in Jamestown is up to about 3.8 million gallons per day,” said Joe Hunt, water plant operator. “In June we were using about 2.5 to 3 million gallons per day.”
The increase of about 1 million gallons per day can be attributed largely to lawn and garden watering.
“Any plant that likes heat and has enough water is doing pretty well right now,” said Randy Grueneich, Barnes County extension agent. “Flowers like petunias, daisies, and day lilies are doing fine, if they have water.”
Grueneich said most vegetables also do well in hot weather with the exception of sweet corn.
“Sweet corn doesn’t fill its ears above 85 degrees,” he said.
While gardens with enough water do well in the heat, lawns are another matter.
“Most of the grasses we use in lawns are cool season grasses,” Grueneich said. “There is nothing wrong with letting it go dormant. Even if the lawn goes completely dry now, the rains in the fall will bring it around.”
Any lawn or garden watering should be done in the early morning before the heat of the day. This allows the water to soak into the lawn but does not create high humidity that could cause leaf fungus diseases.
While Thursday’s high temperatures were the highest of the season, we shouldn’t see any more near 100 degree days in the near future.
“Should see a wind switch to the north Friday,” said Rob Kupec, meteorologist for Forum Communications. “A little cooler and a little drier but not a huge swing.”
Kupec said for the next five to six days high temperatures will swing between the low 90s and high 80s for highs each day.
“There is a cold front about a week out that could bring average to below average temperatures for a while,” he said.
The average high in Jamestown this time of year is 83 degrees with the average low at 58.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org