According to the National Weather Service, among the cities reaching all-time high average temperatures for the month of May were: Columbia, Springfield, St. Louis, and West Plains. Kansas City and St. Joseph were among cities experiencing their second warmest May on record. It was the warmest May on record for the state of Missouri, according to University of Missouri Extension climatologist Pat Guinan, who says the 73 degree average temperature statewide was almost nine degrees above normal.

“Summer heat and humidity have come early this year and they are already posing health risks, reminding all of us to watch out not only for ourselves, but for the young, elderly and people with pre-existing health issues,” Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said. “Never leave a child or a pet alone in a car because the temperature can rise by 20 degrees in 10 minutes and 30 degrees in 20 minutes; remember to check on the elderly who may not have air conditioning; and all of us should limit our exposure to the sun.”

Missourians can find a public cooling center near them by visiting and entering their ZIP code, city or county.

Remember these basic tips to protect you and your family during severe heat and heat emergencies:

· Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.

· Look Before You Lock – never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.

· Eat light, well-balanced meals at regular intervals.

· Drink plenty of water and limit intake of alcoholic beverages. Make sure your pet has fresh water and access to shade.

~ Get more tips and signs of heat illnesses in today’s Journal ~