Heat index hits 103 in Duluth, 104 in Superior
The second blistering heat wave of the month has enveloped the Northland, pushing the National Weather Service in Duluth to issue a heat advisory from the Twin Ports south through Monday evening.
Duluth hit 94 degrees at 4 p.m. today and, combined with a high dew point, the heat index reached 103 degrees.
The heat index or feels-like temperature hit as high as 109 at Crane Lake earlier today and at 4 p.m. sat at 105 in Aitkin, 104 in Superior, 103 at Park Point and in Minneapolis and 102 in Ashland.
The Weather Service reminds us that those are temperatures in the shade and that readings in direct sun, for athletes or outdoor workers, are actually much higher.
All that heat could spur some severe thunderstorms yet tonight and early Monday, the Weather Service notes, with some storms already developing west of the Iron Range by 6 p.m.
While the hottest, stickiest weather is expected to move on by Wednesday, high temperatures are forecast to remain in the mid-to-upper 80s throughout the week, about 15 degrees above normal.
Experts reminded folks to keep animals out of the heat with fresh water available, and they suggested checking up on elderly relatives and neighbors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June released a report showing the U.S. averages 658 deaths a year from extreme heat -- more than die from tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined.
An excessive heat warning is in effect for parts of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, where the heat index could hit 110 today and where overnight lows will remain so warm that many people and animals could be stressed.
The forecast for Duluth calls for a good chance of thunderstorms to break out this evening and early Monday, and again Monday night, which could bring some relief for lawns, gardens and parched forests. Duluth hasn't had measurable rain since Aug. 5 and now sits 2.3 inches short for August and more than 4 inches below normal rainfall since June 1. Much of the region, from the Iron Range south, is in an unusually dry or drought condition.
Much of Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, northern St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties have had ample moisture this summer, with some areas 1 to 3 inches above normal for rainfall since June. That's kept the state's most fire-prone area, the eastern Superior National Forest, a little wetter than the rest of the Northland.