GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- By 2:30 in the afternoon, the Twin Cities temperatures hit a level we haven't seen around here on this date since 1911. Ninety-six degrees and we were sizzling. Throw in dew points at 70 and folks were roasting, baking, and broiling.
"The humidity starts to scare people away," Brookview Golf Course Manager Kim Truckenmiller explained, noting several golfers hit the course early to avoid the aforementioned conditions.
"It's got to be upper 90s by now, isn't it?" Construction worker Charlie Bergh wondered. Bergh and his crew were ripping up a sidewalk to get at some pipes 5 feet below the surface. At that point in the day, it was only 93 degrees. Meanwhile, cars cruised by as drivers enjoyed some air conditioning. "It'll be me when I retire!" co-worker Bruce Hanson said with a chuckle.
Those not so close to retirement got stuck digging those 5 foot deep holes. It was not a good spot to be. "Oh, it's another 10 to 15 degrees hotter when you're in the hole and there's no wind," Bergh explained.
"When it gets hot, we're very busy," Hennepin County Medical Center Assistant Head Nurse Mary Woodley-Douglas said, after a busy weekend dealing with folks with heat exhaustion.
Woodley-Douglas says the heat takes its toll, but it's the humidity that sends folks to her ER. "When the heat index gets super high and its super wet in the air, it can't remove that moisture from your skin and therefore you don't have that cooling effect happening because you're still hot. You're sweating and sweating and sweating and you get to the point where your body overheats."
The emergency room nurse notes alcohol and caffeine take even more hydration away. If you're out in the heat and humidity, the water that's leaving your body has to be replaced. "We're supposed to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day and if you're getting dehydrated you're going to have to have even more than that so that's a lot of water," Woodley-Douglas said.
The guys in Bergh's crew were drinking a bottle of water every hour and they planned on working an 8 hour day as opposed to their normal 10 hour shift. Bergh was actually in a festive mood on Monday, realizing he'd have Wednesday off for the 4th of July. It'll be a well deserved break from the hot and humid work week.
The Minnesota Department of Health has some recommendations on beating the heat.
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