Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hot as “you know what” in Minnesota July 18, 2011

Air conditioners will be working overtime in Minnesota this week.

SO, MINNESOTANS, here’s the weather question of the day: “How hot is it outside?”

Although I’m of German heritage, I’d unequivocally state, “hotter than a Finish sauna.”

With a predicted dewpoint in the 70s (Sunday it reached an almost unheard of 81) and temperatures in the 90s today, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen has continued an extensive heat warning for central and southern Minnesota and west central Wisconsin through 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Heat indexes of more than 105 degrees (some media outlets are saying 110 – 117 degrees) are expected for several-hour stretches during the afternoon, creating “a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely.” Ya think?

That means, folks, that we need to keep ourselves cool (preferably in an air conditioned building), drink plenty of fluids (and we’re not talking alcohol here) and stay out of the sun.

Don't increase your fluid intake via alcohol.

Honestly, when I stepped outside Sunday evening, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. You can guess how long I stayed outdoors. Long enough to turn around and walk back inside the house. I had been out earlier photographing the air conditioner you see above. I had a little trouble with the camera lens fogging over as soon as I stepped outdoors. The windows on our house also fogged, a phenomenon I have not previously seen except when I cook pasta. Weird stuff this weather.

All joking aside, this heat and humidity can be downright dangerous, especially for anyone working outdoors.

I know of some teens supposedly heading to the corn fields early this morning to detassel corn in the Stanton/Northfield area. Here’s my advice: Gulp water, by golly, then gulp some more. Slather on the sun screen, wear a cap and, if you’re at all feeling out of sorts, immediately tell your supervisor. Today would not be the day to tough it out. And, yes, I do know of what I write. As a teen I detasseled corn on days so hot it seemed as if the heavy air would suffocate me in the corn rows.

If you, or your teen, is starting a job this week as a corn detasseler, take extra precautions to avoid heat-related health issues. Also, don't quit. Every week in the cornfield won't be like this one and you' likely work only til noon.

Now, with those dire warnings out of the way, let’s talk about the words and phrases we Minnesotans use to describe this stretch of humid, hot weather. Let me pull out my Minnesota Thesaurus and thumb through the pages.

Here are some select synonyms for our current weather: steamy, muggy, scorching hot, sweltering, a real barn burner, so hot you could fry an egg on the pavement, like a sauna, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”…

Whichever words you choose from that non-inclusive list, you might want to add, “It could be worse.” We Minnesotans like to tack that little phrase onto our statements lest, by not adding that qualifier, we leave ourselves open to worse circumstances/situations/weather. We do not want to tempt fate.

After all, come December, we could get socked with a raging blizzard that dumps two feet of snow on us followed by a week of temperatures plummeting to 20-below, and that’s without the windchill. We wouldn’t want to invite a Siberian winter by forgetting, this week, to say, “It could be worse.”

A snow pile divides traffic lanes along Fourth Street/Minnesota Highway 60 a block from Central Avenue in Faribault following a December 2010 snowstorm.

In summary, it’s best, really, not to overly-complain about the hellish, hot, scorching, stifling, steamy, sticky, sweltering, miserable, muggy, unbearable, oppressive heat and humidity. OK, then?

And, please, don’t be thinking, “Whatever, Audrey.”

IT’S YOUR TURN to speak up. How would you describe this weather we’re experiencing in Minnesota? How are you coping? Add your ending to this prhase: “It’s so hot in Minnesota that…”  Submit a comment and tell me whatever.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “Hot as “you know what” in Minnesota”

  1. That photo of snow cooled me down 20 degrees immediately!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Well, then, maybe I should dig into my photo folders and publish an entire post of winter images. Anything to help Minnesotans, and the rest of the nation, through this unbearable heat wave.

  2. Amy Says:

    While I agree with your statements, Kansas is on record to have the most over 100 degree days since 1936 this year. I think we have already had over 50 so far since May and most people say that it isn’t likely that they get more than 3 or 4 in the summer time. The humidity isn’t always so bad, but there usually is no breeze. If there is a breeze, it is a hot one. It is not refreshing. And the air conditioner is keeping up, thank goodness. Except our upstairs is not vented properly for the cool air to get up there, it makes me wonder what we will do next week when my Father-in-Law is here to help us move. Time will tell!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, my goodness, F-I-F-T-Y days over 100 degrees! That sounds horrible. Get thyself back to Minnesota. This hot stretch is supposed to last only through mid-week.

      • Amy Says:

        Just to correct myself, I don’t want to be accused of false information. The weatherman said this morning that we have had only 26 days of over 100 degrees. But we don’t get relief until Monday and Tuesday of next week, with highs forecasted at a measly 97 and 99 degrees, with 100 again Wednesday. I’m hoping for 80’s next Saturday for loading the moving truck. Or praying for lots of helpers so it gets done quickly!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Well, we wouldn’t want to be spreading incorrect info, so thanks for the correction.

        I do hope the weather cools for your packing event. The situation is supposed to improve here in Minnesota tomorrow with lower dew points and temps. Yeah. I can’t wait.

  3. fowlguy Says:

    yesterday our ac took a dive to ac heaven. going to brookings sd today to get a new one. called marshall, sioux falls & brookings yesterday found one at lowes.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      What a fine time for your ac to go to ac heaven, huh? I bet once an ac unit hits the store shelf, it’s gone, just like that. Glad you found one in Brookings.

  4. Bernie Says:

    In Minnesota it’s so hot that you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. I was not anticipating these types of temperatures when we planned on coming back. Yikes! I have never experienced muggy weather like this in all my years of living in Minnesota. Heck, I was by the lake for lunch yesterday and it was still hot there.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Well, if it’s hot in Duluth, then I know it’s hot in Minnesota. Like you, I can’t recall the weather ever being this hot and oppressive in Minnesota EVER. Honestly, I can’t tolerate being outside because I truly feel like I cannot get any air into my lungs.

      I’m so sorry we had to have this horrible weather when you’re back home.

  5. sartenada Says:

    You said: “hotter than a Finish sauna”! This is something that I do not believe!!!

    Here is my Sauna post

    Happy week-end!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You would be correct to disbelieve me based on the information in your blog post. I should have done my research, huh? Mostly I was attempting to exaggerate a point.

      Thanks for the facts.

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