The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 2, 2011

Joplin death linked to heat

From AP, staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — The current heat wave that is suspected of at least contributing to one death in Joplin is expected to continue to oppress the area with dangerous, record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures through the rest of the week.

The temperature Tuesday afternoon in Joplin hit 110 degrees, the highest recorded locally in almost 60 years and one of the highest on record for the city, the National Weather Service said.

The area is believed to have recorded its first heat-related death this week.

The death of a homeless man, whose body was discovered Monday afternoon outside a vacant building in Joplin, is believed to have been heat-related, according to the Joplin Police Department.

Police Cpl. Chuck Niess said the man’s body was found about 2 p.m. in a doorway at the back of the former Burger King building at 1710 S. Maiden Lane. Niess said the discovery was made by two people from a nearby business that the man liked to frequent on a daily basis. They went looking for him when he did not show up Monday, Niess said.

While police believe they know who the man is, his name was being withheld pending confirmation of his identity. The body was taken to Parker Mortuary in Joplin.


“We are expecting a front to come down next week, which is not going to be a bargain, by any means,” said Drew Albert, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service station in Springfield. “We might see temps drop back into the 90s.”

He meant upper 90s, as in 98 degrees, which is still above normal.

“At least in the near future, there is not going to be a time when you go, ‘Wow, that feels a lot better,’” Albert said.

The 110 on Tuesday was an all-time record high for Joplin in August. The previous August record, before the temperature hit 108 degrees on Monday, was 106 on Aug. 31, 1947, and again on Aug. 8, 1970.

The last time Joplin recorded weather this blistering was during the heat wave of July 1954, when, for more than a week, temperatures ranged from 109 to as high as 115. The latter is the all-time high for the city.

According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature in July this year in Joplin was 87.7 degrees, 7.8 degrees above the normal of 79.9. It was the third hottest July ever recorded in Joplin.


The number of confirmed heat-related deaths in the Midwest continues to climb.

Oklahoma has reported 12 heat-related deaths, with autopsies pending on 10 other people suspected of dying because of the heat, according to the state medical examiner’s office.

The Oklahoma Climatological Survey said Monday that July was the hottest month on record in Oklahoma. The survey said the average temperature in the state during the month was 89.1 degrees, breaking the record of 88.1 degrees set in July 1954.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported Tuesday that there have been 11 confirmed heat-related deaths in the state since May 1, with 10 of those in Kansas City and St. Louis, and one in a rural area that state officials did not identify. The agency said an additional 24 deaths are suspected to be heat-related. Health officials said there have been 1,362 heat-related visits to emergency rooms.

There have been three confirmed heat-related deaths in Kansas, said Jonathan Larance, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. He said the most recent death was on July 23.

Heat factor

JASPER COUNTY CORONER ROB CHAPPEL said he intends to list heat as a contributing factor in the homeless man’s death. He said the man suffered failure of multiple organs, with the underlying cause being dehydration because of the heat and alcoholism.