Dangerously high heat and humidity smothered the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota Monday, stressing humans and animals at the State Fair and delivering a lesson in misery to Minneapolis students and teachers on the first day of school.
The brutal temperatures triggered National Weather Service heat warnings for the young and elderly through Tuesday with a heat and humidity index forecast as high as 110 degrees.
Groups cancelled outdoor activities across the metro area.
At the Minnesota State Fair, four people were transported to area hospitals to be treated for heat-related illness. On the fair grounds, 80 people received care for heat-related illness.
St. Paul schools postponed games on Tuesday and ordered sports coaches to dial back on workouts.
Minneapolis Public Schools went ahead with the first day of class Monday over the objections of some parents. The extreme heat prompted deliveries of bottled water, electric fans and even popsicles as school officials tried to cool off the buildings. But some parents are questioning whether it's too hot to even hold class.
Lauren Damman, a mom who has boys in Anthony Middle School and Southwest High School, visited both schools today (neither school has air conditioning) to drop off Gatorade for her sons.
"There's a lot of stress energy, and a lot of excessive heat in the building," she said. "The staff members look more haggard than the children. The staff members are having a hard time trying to teach, and the kids can't track. They're just trying to stay cool. The kids shouldn't be there, you know?"
Public health officials warned Minnesotans to keep hydrated and find air conditioning.
A weak cool front may offer some slight relief by late Tuesday, the Weather Service said. But Wednesday temperatures will still run into the low 90s. The hot weather is especially dangerous because sundown will bring little relief.
Nighttime temperatures are not expected to cool below the mid 70s and lower 80s. Daytime and evening highs were expected to break records.
"This kind of unrelenting heat is serious stuff for the very old and young and our pets," MPR News meteorologist Paul Huttner wrote Monday. "The effects of heat are cumulative over days, and hot overnight lows above 80 degrees add to the danger. Your body just can't cool off at night."
Records so far:
• 80 degrees = record warm overnight minimum Sunday (74 set in 1948)
• 96 degrees = record high Sunday (94 set in 1948)
• 80 degrees = record warm overnight minimum Monday (75 in 1991)