Weather Forecast


Heat, humidity hits lakes country

Mary Waldvogel enjoyed the cool spray of Lower Bottle Lake Monday evening. The lake was the best place to escape the heat. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 2
Julie Gough took her turn on the slalom ski Monday night on Lower Bottle Lake. She and Mary Waldvogel are sisters and summer residents. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 2

Extreme heat and humidity has settled on the area and could continue through much of the week.

People have been spending time in area lakes to escape the heat.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms were expected Tuesday followed by a sunny and hot day with a high near 90, according to the National Weather Service. Heat index values were expected to be as high as 98.

Today (Wednesday) will also be sunny and hot, with a high near 91. Heat index values could reach 102, according to the National Weather Service.

Some relief will come Thursday, with a high near 82 and a high near 84 Friday.

With high temperatures comes increased water usage in the city. Park Rapids city administrator Bill Smith said water production is at capacity but the city isn't having problems meeting demand.

"At this point there's no reason to put out a no irrigation order," he said.

However, if a water pump failed the city would need to look at issuing an order. Park Rapids has two tanks that can provide plenty of water to residents, though, Smith said.

With high temperatures and a heat index above 100 people are asked to take precautions.

Heat and high humidity combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat-related illnesses are likely. Individuals are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, stay in an air-conditioned room and keep an eye on relatives, neighbors and pets.

When possible, strenuous outdoor activities should be rescheduled to early morning or the evening hours. To reduce the risk of heat-related illness for outdoor workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.

The heat index is how hot the heat-humidity combination makes it feel. As relative humidity increases, the air seems warmer than it actually is because the body is less able to cool itself via evaporation of perspiration.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants individuals and families to understand how to cope with extreme heat.

"A combination of high temperatures and high humidity creates a dangerous situation in which heat induced illnesses are likely," said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Region V administrator. "The key to survival is to know what to do before and during a period of extreme heat."

During extremely hot weather, you should take the following precautions:

n Become familiar with the emergency plans of your community, school, caregivers and workplace.

n Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

n Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.

n Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities that are air conditioned.

n Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

n Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid-restricted diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.

n Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.

n Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.

n Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

n Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone. It is especially important to check on the elderly, disabled and those with functional needs.

n Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.

n Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.

To prepare for extreme heat:

n Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.

n Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.

n Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.

n Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.

n Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)

n Keep storm windows up all year.

n If you are without air conditioning, you can use box fans and ceiling fans to promote air circulation throughout your home. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561