Heat wave continues, air quality worsens

Beating the heat on Lake Harriet
People beat the oppressive heat and humidity at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. The heat index topped 100-degrees with tropical-like dew points.
Jim Mone | AP

An excessive heat warning for most of the state has some cities opening up cooling centers for people to get relief.

At the Schwan's USA Cup youth soccer tournament, games are shorter and water breaks mandatory.

The tournament involving more than 1,100 teams has shortened games, added mandatory water breaks and took a four-hour hiatus during the afternoon to avoid the highest temperatures of the day.

Tournament spokesperson Barclay Kruse said they're used to dealing with the heat at the annual contest, held in July at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn.

"We're very serious about it and that's why we're very careful about educating people about where you can go to cool off on the campus and all that proactive stuff to avoid problems," Kruse said.

State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield says heat exhaustion can happen quickly.

"The body typically has mechanisms such as sweating to regulate temperature and we start to see problems with heat illnesses when the body no longer can do good regulation."

Heat exhaustion symptoms include dizziness, cramping, nausea and an increased heart rate. Lynfield says people can stay cool by taking showers, drinking more water than usual and spending time in air conditioning.

The state also is warning the air quality again will be hazardous for the Twin Cities and the surrounding counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties. Hot temperatures, sun and light winds mean concentrations of ground-level ozone will increase as the day goes on. The warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.

The people most affected by high ozone levels include those with cardiovascular and respiratory problems, children and the elderly. Anyone who takes part in strenuous activity is at risk as well.

The heat and humidity that's broiling Minnesotans this week is also causing concern for livestock.

Sandra Godden is a professor of Dairy Population Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She says the too much heat makes dairy cattle vulnerable to infections and it slows their milk production.

"The end result is we see decreased production, for example growth or milk production, which is economically hard on the producer," Godden said.

The same techniques that people use to keep cool also work for cattle. That includes fans, sprinklers, providing shade and unlimited water.

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