Blame the heat spike on downslope winds

Kansas may not have mountains – but its weather is often affected by them.

This heat wave is an example. Winds racing down the slope of the Front Range of the Rockies are sending temperatures soaring in the Wichita area.

Air cools as it rises, and warms as it descends. Winds out of the southwest commonly are coming off the mountains, and if they’re at all robust that rapid compression of the air can vault temperatures several degrees.

When it happens in April or October, the “downslope” effect can transform a day from cool to comfortable. When it happens in July or August, it can make Kansas feel like a blast furnace.

Highs will be approaching or touching 105 the next couple of days in Wichita, and heat index readings are expected to be near 110.