Finger on the Weather

Wichita is feeling like the tropics

Boosted by high humidity, the heat index will once again soar to dangerous levels across much of Kansas on Wednesday.

Highs in the mid-90s and dew points in the 70s pushed the heat index on Tuesday to 111 in Wichita and Chanute and 109 in Topeka and Emporia, according to the National Weather Service.

“The bottom line is, we’ve had a lot of tropical moisture sitting over the area for quite a while,” said Eric Metzger, a meteorologist for the weather service.

A front moving across the state over the weekend triggered heavy rain in Wichita and other parts of the state – as much as 9 inches in northeast Wichita and Rose Hill, according to the weather service.

“It just wrung out a lot of the moisture,” Metzger said.

Several roads in Reno County were still closed by flooding on Tuesday. The Arkansas, Little Arkansas and Walnut rivers in the Wichita metropolitan area were in minor or moderate flooding.

All roads in Sedgwick County were open by Tuesday, said Kate Flavin, a spokeswoman for the county.

There’s still plenty of moisture in the atmosphere, Metzger said, but no “triggers” to ignite thunderstorms for the next few days at least. That translates into plenty of humidity, with heat indexes in the triple digits.

“There’s plenty of instability” in the atmosphere for storms, Metzger said, “just nothing to focus it.”

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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