Minnesotans are in store for the hottest day yet at the State Fair, with a high temperature by late Thursday afternoon that could threaten a 71-year-old record.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting a high of 94, well above the average for this date of 77 and nipping at the heels of the record of 96 set in 1941.
The NWS is then anticipating highs in the mid- to upper 80s through Labor Day, the last day of the fair. Then high temperatures will be barely in the 80s after that, in time for when most Minnesota schoolkids to return to classes.
Highs around the Twin Cites on Wednesday topped out in the lower 90s.
Fair officials are taking steps to help everyone on two legs or four deal with the heat.
Large misting areas will be set up -- one at Liggett Street and Dan Patch Avenue and another at Cosgrove Street and Wright Avenue -- should the heat index reach 100 degrees or more for three hours.
Also, 10,000 commemorative bandanas will be given away at information booths, and visitors will be encouraged to soak them in ice water and tie them around their necks or wear them atop their heads.
Members of marching bands in the daily parade are being directed not to wear their uniforms and instead opt for cooler clothing. Emergency medical personnel also will be following the bands, and an EMT unit will be stationed at the end of the route.
For the livestock, barn temperatures will be closely monitored. If necessary, veterinarians and State Fair staff will remove animals from the barns and/or provide supplemental cooling.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482