The heat is posing problem for more than just farmers and their crops. The heat can also cause damage to roadways and the workers who have to fix them. Over the years the Kansas Department of Transportation has developed ways to keep its workers safe in the heat.
The state's roadwork can't come to a stop just because it's hot out. Grass must still be mowed, roads repaired, and debris collected.
So when the thermometer hits the triple digits, the Kansas Department of Transportation institutes a series of precautions designed to keep its workers safe.
“We take water out every day,” said Pat Engstrom, a KDOT worker. “We have a container that we fill full of ice. KDOT supplies the ice.”
Along with the water and ice, KDOT supplies sunscreen, with an SPF of at least 30, and makes taking breaks part of the schedule.
“You really have to be aware of each other, the people on your crew, so that people don't get heatstroke,” said Engstrom.
Heatstroke is a particular danger for roadworkers, simply because of where they work.
“We're exposed to high temperatures,” Engstrom said. “When it's 100 degrees out, usually the concrete pavement is, ah, right around 130. So we have to hydrate often.”
Which is why when there is a string of 100 degree days KDOT will even alter the schedule, bringing workers in at 6:00 a.m. and sending them home by 2:30 p.m., before the hottest part of the day.
That's because when the heat goes up so do problems. For example, blow-ups, when the concrete of the highway buckles due to boiling water that's seeped into the road.
Another problem workers face is picking up retreads that have come off of semi truck tires because of the high heat. It is something that has to be done in order to keep the roads clear for your safety.
KDOT has a similar plan to help workers survive the extreme cold they can face in winter as well.