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Near-record heat affecting plant life, runners

By Kristina Jackson

Manhattan has been experiencing near-record high temperatures in the last few weeks, which affects people who enjoy the outdoors or make their living there, such as runners and farmers.

Temperatures broke 100 this weekend with a high of 101 on Sunday, an unseasonable temperature for September, according to Mary Knapp, state climatologist, but not a record high.

The daily record high for Sept. 7 was 104, set in 1947. The latest date to break the 100-degree mark was Sept. 28, set when the mercury reached 106 degrees in 1953.

“We’ve had kind of a high-pressure doughnut camped over us, which allows that heat to build,” Knapp said.

Even the nighttime low temperatures have remained higher than average. Sunday’s overnight low was 79, nearing the September daily record for highest low of 80 degrees.

Higher temperatures also raise the dewpoint temperature, allowing for more moisture in the air but less rainfall, which would cool the atmosphere.

The subsequent lack of rainfall specifically affects plant life in the area, causing a quicker drying of vegetation.

“You have lawns being stressed, and beans and sorghum are going to be stressed,” Knapp said.

Outdoor activities can also be dangerous with this unusual heat. Although people might be tempted to overexert themselves because fall is on its way, they need to be careful.

“People may not be anticipating it, they should be careful when doing exercise that they don’t get overheated,” Knapp said.

The heat wave is nearing its end, according to Knapp, and the area should be closer to seasonal temperatures by the weekend and remain in the mid-80s.

“We can expect temperatures to be toward the end of this hot spot.”

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