Sunburned and sweating in his “Wheel Fun Rentals” polo, Patrick Carter draped a cold washcloth over his head as he waited to help the next round of pedal boaters or paddle boarders take off on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis.
On days like Friday, when the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory and the humidity conspired to make it feel like 100 degrees, the job looked anything but “wheel fun.”
The day’s high of 94 made it the hottest so far this year. It didn’t set a record, though — that came in 1978, when it reached 96. Fortunately — or unfortunately, for those who prefer a tropical climate — Minnesotans will endure only one more day of 90-degree heat. A cooldown is expected to start Sunday, after storms set in Saturday night.
But there’s a trade-off. The rain and thunderstorms will likely continue through the first half of next week, National Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Schmit said. By Tuesday, the temperature should be in the low 70s.
The Twin Cities have not seen many hot days this summer compared with the past few years, National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Krause said.
If Saturday’s prediction of a 90-degree high holds true, then over 48 hours the metro will have doubled the number of days this summer it has experienced 90-degree or higher heat to a total of four.
The effects of the temperate summer have rippled across Lake Nokomis.
Carter said more people have been renting boats because they aren’t hiding in air conditioning or swimming to avoid the heat.
Lauren Anderson, who inspects boats for invasive species, said she has seen more people walking around the lake as opposed to swimming.
“Fishermen love it because they’re not out there cooking,” she said.
Mike Takalo’s family sat on towels in the shade Friday. This was only their second visit to the beach this summer, he said, and the lack of hot days contributed to that.
With only two weekends before school starts, his daughter Ella Takalo, 7, said she has a couple summer activities to check off. Topping the list: “Go swimming,” she said.
Looking ahead, El Niño is expected to grant Minnesota a drier, warmer winter.
“Which I’m sure no one will complain about,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate prediction center.
El Niño is the warming of water in the Pacific Ocean. Typically impacts don’t set in until late fall or winter, Halpert said.
Scientists predict this will be the strongest El Niño since the record-breaking event in 1997 and 1998 that fueled storms and floods in California and a hurricane in Mexico.
“Does this become one of the two or three strongest ones?” Halpert said. “That’s still kind of an open question.”