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Heat wave relents, relieving Kansas City's All-Star anxieties

July 08, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • Lillian Mariscalo of Oyster Bay, N.Y., cools off on Long Island's north shore Saturday.
Lillian Mariscalo of Oyster Bay, N.Y., cools off on Long Island's… (Craig Ruttle, Associated…)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Everything is relative, perhaps heat most of all. That's why some Midwesterners are feeling grateful for Sunday’s temperature downgrade from “lava-hot” to “merely baking.”

Those are not official meteorological terms, by the way, but the drop from Saturday's high of roughly 105 degrees here in the nation’s heartland — after a grueling week of similar heat — to more sensible July highs of 96 and 94 and 92 on Sunday had many saying hallelujah.

“I have never seen a town so excited about mid-90s temperatures,” tweeted one Kansas Citian, and there’s a good reason for that.

PHOTOS: Midwest heat wave

Across the nation, the recent heat wave is thought to have killed at least 35 people and brought a host of other problems, including hindering firefighting efforts out West, withering farmers’ crops in the Midwest, buckling highways up north, and intimidating cleanup workers trying to restore power after last week’s storms in the East.

Parts of the Mid-Atlantic and the lower Midwest still faced triple-digit highs on Sunday. The 15-degree temperature drops across the East also came with a line of storms that left 70,000 powerless in New Jersey on Saturday night, according to the Associated Press.

In Kansas City, the recently departed record heat had ushered in a wave of anxiety that settled over the city like an extra atmospheric layer.

For weeks, this city has been primping to prepare for Major League Baseball’s All-Star game on Tuesday and the horde of out-of-towners coming with it. As in a lot of mid-sized metros, Kansas City officials want to squeeze every ounce of economic leverage out of the national limelight on the rare occasions when it shines on the town. Some locals had been fretting like a teenage girl with a bad hair day on prom night.

“The heat could damage the city’s ability to get lots of people to enjoy outdoor activities,” Kansas City Star columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah wrote in a recent op-ed. “And could you imagine the harm done to KC’s national reputation if TV cameras zeroed in on a temperature gauge during the All-Star Game and showed a temperature of 100 degrees or more?” (The horror.)

But the dome of high pressure that had been crushing the lower atmosphere against the surface of the Great Plains to create last week’s highs has wandered westward toward Arizona and Utah, National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Deroche told the Los Angeles Times. “The deserts are really going to heat up this week,” he said.

As for Kansas City’s big game on Tuesday?

“Tuesday looks really great, actually,” he said. “Temperature should be upper 80s, right around 90 degrees by the time we get to gametime.” Clear skies too, he added.

Great for one town’s ballgame. Not so great for the multitude of farmers now facing extreme drought conditions.

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