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This could be hottest Fourth of July since 2012

“With this combination of heat and humidity it's very important for people who will be spending time outdoors to stay hydrated, minimize direct sun exposure especially during the hottest part of the day and stay cool by taking breaks in the shade or air conditioned areas.” Meteorologist Joe Moore with the National Weather Service in Duluth said.

If the forecast holds true, this will be the hottest Fourth of July for the Brainerd area since 2012.

Hot and humid conditions are expected, with temperatures expected to soar to a high near 96 degrees Saturday, July 3, and a high of 95 degrees Sunday, July 4, in the Brainerd lakes area.

Meteorologist Joe Moore with the National Weather Service in Duluth said this will be the hottest Fourth of July since 2012. The normal high temperature for July 4 is 81 for Brainerd.

“It will also be very humid, with dew point values in the mid to upper 60s, which is about as high as the dew point typically gets in this part of the country,” Moore said. “With this combination of heat and humidity it's very important for people who will be spending time outdoors to stay hydrated, minimize direct sun exposure especially during the hottest part of the day and stay cool by taking breaks in the shade or air-conditioned areas.”

As the day progresses, hot, sunny conditions, coupled with dry winds blowing in from Iowa, will cause the dew to dissipate and create drier conditions where the humidity rate will be 25-30% on Saturday and 35-40% on Sunday. Typically, these wind gusts are saturated with moisture as they pass through irrigated farm country to the south, said meteorologist Greg Frosig, but this year they’re unusually dry.

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Thunderstorms are also possible in the lakes area, as a cold front is anticipated to approach from the northwest with a chance for isolated thunderstorms Sunday afternoon into night.

“While storms on Sunday should be isolated enough that they won't rain out any outdoor plans, those who plan on spending the day outside on the lake or on land should be weather aware and be prepared to take shelter if thunderstorms threaten,” Moore said.

If thunderstorms do become severe, this Fourth of July may not just mirror 2012 for its hot and humid temperatures but for its wild weather. The hot and humid Fourth of July in 2012 resulted in a tornado warning being issued for Crow Wing, Cass, Wadena, Morrison and Todd counties by early evening.

A meteorologist told the Dispatch in 2012 that storm had the capability of producing very severe and hazardous weather, stating, “When we issue a tornado warning, it means we are very close to having a tornado touchdown.”

Sirens went off three times during the night and law enforcement asked fireworks watchers to go home and seek shelter because of the storm. The fireworks were started before the first siren blasts for the tornado warning and, once started, the firework display couldn’t be stopped.

The Fourth of July parade and fireworks were in Baxter in 2012 as the Brainerd parade route was under construction. Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson remembers the holiday weather events well.

“I remember us being lined up, with my particular car parked against Office Max or Target, and we were desperately trying to find shade,” Olson said. “We were right up against that building before (the parade) started. ... And I remember the horses came by, the sheriff's mounted horses and they were already sweating and wet. I think ... it was 103 (heat index) or something like that. I remember (former Brainerd Community Action director) Nancy Cross was standing in the intersection lining people up and, I mean, her face was so red that I thought she was going to blow up, you know. It was just absolutely terrible, but we went ahead and did it.”

Then later that night the storm came rolling in.

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“The cops were driving up and down with megaphones telling people that they probably should get going,” Olson said, so his family loaded up the van and headed home. “We barely made it back home before it started.”

Olson said the city administrator at the time, Gordon Heitke, was working at city hall that night when he saw a carload of people heading west.

“They were panicking because it was kind of ugly and they saw the lights on, and they turned into city hall and they rode out the storm with him,” Olson said.

Olson, who will again be in the Fourth of July parade Sunday, said his family always sets up a spot by the Brainerd Fire Hall under a 10- by 10-foot pop-up canopy.

“We bring our own shade, if you will,” Olson said for a tip to beat the heat. “And then of course lots of water. ... The parade starts at 6 p.m. (instead of the traditional 4 p.m.) so that will help.”

Extreme heat tips

  • Stay hydrated,

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day,

  • Do not wait until you are thirsty before you drink fluids,

  • Avoid drinking alcohol,

  • Avoid drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine,

  • Avoid very cold drinks, as they can cause stomach cramps,

  • Make sure pets also have shade and water and aren’t left in vehicles.

Stay cool

  • Visit air-conditioned places if your home is hot,

  • Do not use electric fans to cool yourself when the temperature reaches the high 90s and above — blowing air onto you body that is higher than the body temperature can actually increase heat stress,

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing,

  • Avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest hours of the day,

  • Take a cool shower or bath.

Heat Exhaustion and Stroke
In this public notice by the Minnesota Department of Health it shares the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Screenshot / Jennifer Kraus

Signs of heat exhaustion

  • Mild headache, lightheadedness;

  • Cool, pale skin, heavy sweating;

  • Nausea, vomiting;

  • Muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness.

If a person has these signs, move to a cooler place and cool down with ice or cold water. Lay down and drink water or sports drinks. Call 911 if symptoms last longer than an hour.

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Signs of heat stroke

  • Throbbing headache, confusion, seizure, irritability or altered or loss of consciousness;

  • Oral body temperature of 104 or above, dry mouth;

  • Hot skin;

  • Nausea and vomiting.

If a person has these signs, call 911 immediately. Move to the shade or a cooler place. Cool the affected person with immersion in cool water or by placing ice packs on the neck and groin areas.
(Source: Minnesota Department of Health)

fire.jpg

High fire danger continues across Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking residents and visitors to use extreme caution with campfires and fireworks this holiday weekend due to expected statewide high fire danger.

Drought conditions continue to expand, and burning restrictions remain in effect for several north-central Minnesota counties. An unintentional spark in these dry conditions could ignite a wildfire.

“All of Minnesota is abnormally dry or in a stage of drought. With trees, grasses and shrubs dried out, it’s easy for a spark to quickly become a wildfire,” Casey McCoy, fire prevention supervisor, said in a news release.

McCoy urged celebrations that don’t include fireworks, offering the reminder that fireworks are not allowed in any state park, state forest or other DNR-administered lands.

Inside fireworks tent
A variety of fireworks can be found at at fireworks vendors in the Brainerd lake area, including this one owned by Aaron Dunmire of Brainerd off Highway 371, north of Baxter next to the Tyke’s Carpet Sales building. Brainerd Dispatch / Jennifer Kraus

To help ensure public safety and protect natural resources, burning restrictions, including limitations on the use of fireworks, remain in effect for the southern portion of Beltrami County, and all of Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

In counties affected by the restrictions:

  • No fireworks may be ignited on any public or private land outside city limits. People should check with their local community for any additional restrictions,

  • No campfires are allowed for backcountry or dispersed camping,

  • Campfires are allowed only in an established fire ring associated with a residence, cabin, campground or resort,

  • Burning permits will not be issued for brush or yard waste.

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at jennifer.kraus@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.

Heat Exhaustion and Stroke
In this public notice by the Minnesota Department of Health it shares the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Screenshot / Jennifer Kraus

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