Hard on the heels of Saturday's torrential rains in the Twin Cities metro area came a sweltering Sunday dominated by soaring mercury and merciless humidity.
Dew points of 80 and 81 -- similar to those in a steam bath or tropical rain forest -- were reported at various sites across Minnesota. Was it a record?
"It's one of the highest we've seen in a long while," said Jim Richardson, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, of an 80-degree dew point reported at 5 and 6 p.m. at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Some Twin Cities media outlets reported that the 81 dew point set or tied a state record, but the Weather Service refrained from such characterizations, saying such data is kept by the State Climatology Office and is unavailable during the state shutdown.
Record or no record, it was one sweaty day. The mercury at the airport peaked at 93.
At Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, a couple of dozen Twins fans had to be treated for heat-related symptoms during the afternoon game with the Kansas City Royals, said Kevin Smith, the team's executive director for public affairs. Big, orange water coolers that were placed throughout the stadium so fans could refill their water bottles for free will remain in place through the week, which will stay steamy.
In New Brighton, the sticky weather added insult to injury as residents of the Garden View Apartment complex struggled to push and tow their ruined cars out of a parking lot that was turned into a lake by Saturday morning's deluge.
By Sunday afternoon, the water had retreated enough to see most of the inoperable cars that remained in the lot, as well as water lines that reached all the way up to the top of their windshields.
"Mother Nature should have brought a check with her if she was going to do this," said 51-year-old Deb Armstrong, who, with sons Adam and Neal, had just finished moving her ruined black Honda out of the parking lot lake and into their parking garage space.
Generally, the heat and humidity were blamed for a host of minor, not major, problems across the metro area. Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis had reported no heat-related admissions as of late afternoon, and Xcel Energy reported no power failures resulting from tens of thousands of air conditioners running at full throttle, though there were brief outages caused by Saturday morning's thunderstorms.
The weekend's heavy rain dug out an impressive sinkhole on the exit ramp going from northbound I-35E onto Kellogg Boulevard in St. Paul, according to the state Department of Transportation. The ramp will be closed through the Monday morning commute.
Among the events and people slowing down out of respect for the hazardous heat: The Schwan's USA Cup youth soccer tournament at the National Sports Center in Blaine, which suspended play for three hours, said tourney spokesman Barclay Kruse. Play resumed at 4 p.m. The tournament, which began Friday and runs through Saturday, involves 900 teams from 20 states and 17 countries.
On Monday, look for highs in the low to middle 90s and more high humidity, said Weather Service meteorologist Byron Paulson. That situation will continue through much of the week, he said.
"People thought summer would never come, but it sure has -- with a vengeance," Paulson said. The normal high for this time of year? 83, he said.
Norman Draper • 612-673-4547