Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Closed, much to my disappointment July 10, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


SOMETIMES IT’S JUST too hot to do business…apparently.


Photographed last week in downtown Elysian, Minnesota, when the temp hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


It’s hot as you know where in Minnesota July 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:18 AM
Tags: , , , ,

I CANNOT RECALL ever watching fireworks from the car. But on the Fourth of July, my husband Randy and I sat in our air-conditioned car parked at a hilltop Faribault church and took in the patriotic display. It wasn’t only the oppressive heat and humidity which drove us into our vehicle, but also the mosquitoes.

It’s been a miserable week of weather here in Minnesota. But I don’t need to tell you that if you live here. You know.

The National Weather Service office in Chanhassen has issued an excessive heat warning for much of central and southern Minnesota numerous times during the past several days. One remains in effect until 7 p.m. tonight in southern Minnesota and west central Wisconsin with temps soaring into the 90s and a heat index of 102 – 112 degrees.

Here’s that warning defined, directly from the NWS website:


That word, “dangerous,” should be heeded.

I suspect Randy and I were feeling the effects of that heat on Tuesday when we took a day trip to Lake City. We were in and out of our air-conditioned van and Lake City businesses during the peak heat of the afternoon. I suffered an on-again-off-again headache.

Not until we were back home did Randy tell me he also had a headache and simply did not feel well. He didn’t drink nearly as much water as me and I suspect he was dehydrated and perhaps a bit overheated.

A crew patches a section of Brown County Road 29 just outside of New Ulm on Monday afternoon.

Now imagine if you were a road construction worker or a roofer or anyone else who toils in the outdoors. If we felt uncomfortable  just walking in and out of shops on a hot and humid afternoon, they must have felt 1,000 times more miserable.

Working as a flag man with the same crew under the hot afternoon sun had to be pretty darn hot.

That said, be safe and stay cool. We have one more day of this sultry, oppressive, can’t-breathe kind of day to get through until the heat and humidity levels drop.

How do you beat the heat and humidity?

Some members of my extended family beat the heat on Saturday by jumping/running/walking through a sprinkler.

Cooling off in a make-shift fire department swimming pool during a celebration in Belview.

The Belview Fire Department filled a temporary water reservoir for the kids to splash in during a tornado recovery celebration on a sultry July 1 at the city park in Belview in southwestern Minnesota.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Not exactly kick the can June 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:15 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

HOT, HUMID WEATHER can cause all sorts of issues. Frizzy hair. Over-taxed air conditioners. Crabby kids, and adults. Buckling pavement.

And sometimes…sticky doors.

The door to Personal Touch Office Services.

But Patti, at Personal Touch Office Services, 307 Division Street in historic downtown Northfield, offers a solution to the sticky door problem at her place of business. Simply follow her instructions:

Follow the instructions to get the door open during humid weather.

Please note that Patti instructs you to “tap,” not kick, the door. Got that?

I expect door tapping kicking has been a popular sport in Minnesota this week.

FYI: I do not know Patti nor have I ever done business with her. I simply found her note amusing and wanted to share it with you.

© Copyright 2012 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