Pavement-Buckling Heat? These Cities in Minnesota and Wisconsin Will Feel Like 110F
We are (relatively) lucky, with just occasional swipes of obnoxious heat, not the day after day, month after month of sweltering 100-degree swamp-fest that has gripped the southern US this summer, well on its way to being the hottest ever recorded from Florida westward to Arizona. Keep that in mind.
Yesterday the heat index in Lawrence, Kansas reached a face-melting 134F. OK. That's hyperbole: people's faces did not melt, but most folks gasping under this record-setting "heat dome" stayed indoors, and will continue to do so much of this week. For good reason.
The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for much of the southern half of Minnesota and Wisconsin for Tuesday and Wednesday, including the Twin Cities, Rochester, Eau Claire and La Crosse, as an historically-strong heat dome oozes across the Upper Midwest. This hot front will not advance into northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, but records may fall just to the south of the Twin Ports.
Think of Heat Index as the summertime equivalent of winter wind chill: it's how it really feels out there after factoring temperature and relative humidity. When dew points are in the 70s and there's a lot of water in the air your body can't effectively cool itself through perspiration - it's much easier to overheat and get into trouble with heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can be fatal.
The National Weather Service is predicting a heat index within the warned area as high as 111F. They write (and I quote verbatim here): the extreme heat may also lead to buckling roads. Well MnDOT and WisDOT will be thrilled about that.
Peak heat may come late afternoon Tuesday, with Wednesday nearly as hot across much of Minnesota. Guidance above is from ECMWF, the European model.
Mercifully this will be a quick hit of obnoxious heat - Minnesota and Wisconsin only get a taste of what much of the US has been dealing with most of the summer. Take it easy out there, with stinking hot weather coming as close as Brainerd and Hinckley.
This is another subtle-yet-blunt reminder that yes, the Twin Ports boast character-building winters, but our summers are a refuge from blast-furnace heat. Take the warnings from NOAA (and Paris Hilton) seriously, and know that things will cool down just in time for the Minnesota State Fair, which kicks off on Thursday.
Keep thinking those cool thoughts!