Voter turnout on Tuesday wasn't the only thing setting presidential Election Day records. So were temperatures across Minnesota.
The mercury at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hit 74 degrees just after 3 p.m. Tuesday, making it the warmest reading ever on a day when citizens went to the polls to vote for a U.S. president. That beat the old mark of 71 degrees in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected to office. Election Day was on Nov. 4 that year.
"If you are waiting outside to vote, you could not ask for a better day," said Pete Boulay with the Minnesota State Climatology Office.
The 74-degree reading also tied the record for Nov. 3, which occurred in 1979 and 2008, said Lisa Schmit, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
The summerlike warmth pushed St. Cloud into the record books, too. The temperature at 3 p.m. Tuesday was 73 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That was the warmest reading ever on a presidential Election Day. The reading shattered the old mark of 66 degrees set in 2008.
Eau Claire, Wis., hit 74 degrees, which tied a presidential Election Day record that also was set in 2008.
Small towns across Minnesota could also set maximum highs for the day and for the day of a presidential election, Boulay said. The climatology office relies on hundreds of volunteers across the state to take readings, and often the readings are not turned in until the following day.
"It's possible we will see records," Boulay said.
The warmest reading in the state was in Madison in western Minnesota at 81 degrees, the Weather Service said. Redwood Falls and Granite Falls both hit 80 degrees, though not records.
Records or not, "70 in November is a gift," he said.
With earlier sunsets — on Tuesday the sun set at 4:58 p.m. — it's unlikely to get much warmer. That did happen in 1999, when the warmest reading in the Twin Cities ever for the month of November occurred. The mercury hit 77 on Nov. 8 and that was followed by three more record highs from the 8th to the 13th, Boulay said.
Balmy conditions will continue in the metro area through the rest of the week, with highs under sunny skies near 70 degrees on Wednesday and Friday and in the mid-to-upper 60s Thursday and Saturday.
More November-like temperatures and a chance for rain or snow return Monday, the National Weather Service said.