“Acclimatization is so important when it comes to your body and being used to the heat,” explained NWS Meteorologist Joe Moore. “You might have friends and family down in Florida and Texas making fun of you for complaining about the heat when it’s 90 degrees up here, but it truly is dangerous because our bodies are not used to it. We don’t see a lot of days in the nineties in the Northland, and so it’s really important that when we do see this dangerous heat, we play it safe.”
Summers have been getting warmer in the region, as indicated by NWS data. Four out of the last five years have had over 50 days with a high temperature above 80 degrees in Duluth, compared to the long-term average of 25-30 days.
Monday reached the upper eighties to mid-nineties throughout the Northland. Dew points in the low seventies brought the heat index close to 100.
“Heat index is one way to kind of measure just how it feels, the combination of heat and humidity,” said Moore. “This time of year, we’re getting a lot of kind of Gulf of Mexico influenced moisture all the way up here in northern Minnesota, and so not only is the sun very strong, but we’re also seeing really high dew points. It can feel really sticky out.”
With the heat index so high, many are at risk for heat-related illnesses.
“It’s important that when you’re outside, especially during the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the sun is the strongest, to make sure that you take frequent breaks, make sure you’re getting plenty of water because you’re usually sweating it away,” said Moore.
If you are inside and do not have A/C, Minnesota Power has tips on how to keep your house cooler.
“Keep those shades drawn during the day, keep that heat out, use fans to keep that air circulating,” said MN Power Manager Amy Rutledge. “Another idea to keep in mind is don’t use big kinds of energy users during the day, like your dishwasher or your dryer or washing machine. Using those heat up your house as well as when you’re using those appliances during peak hours, that also can impact your energy bills.”
Another recommendation is to cook outside if able. Minnesota Power also offers a free audit to see if your home is energy efficient.
“We want to make sure that everybody is able to keep cool in the summer and keep warm in the winter, and making sure that your home is as energy efficient as possible is a great way to do that,” said Rutledge.