Heat wave sets temp records across Minn., Wis.
WALWORTH COUNTY The heat wave baking Minnesota and Wisconsin produced record-breaking temperatures across both states, caused roads to buckle and led to thunderstorm warnings in the Boundary Waters area.
Temperatures hit 101 in Minneapolis on Wednesday, breaking the old record of 100 set on the same day in 1949, according to the National Weather Service. St. Cloud got up to 97, one degree higher than the record set in 1988.
About two-thirds of Minnesota was covered by advisories for heat or excessive heat most of the day. Temperatures were expected to range from 95 to 100 across both states through Friday.
A number of communities cancelled fireworks shows because of hot and dry conditions, while others said they will proceed with caution.
The southeastern Wisconsin city of Greenfield said its show would go on, but as a precaution officials spent 48 hours prior to the program hosing down the park site.
“The grass here is relatively short,” Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn told WDJT-TV. “We don’t have tall grass to contend with. Each community has to decide what’s best for themselves.”
Temperatures reached 102 in Milwaukee and Madison, breading previous records of 98 degrees in both cities. Milwaukee’s old record was set in 1990, while Madison’s record stood since 1955.
Both cities are likely to break century-old records Thursday, said Marc Kavinsky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The old records for July 5 were 98 in Madison and 96 in Milwaukee, both set in 1911, he said.
“Both of them will probably fall,” he said, noting forecasts that call for temperatures around 100.
Temperatures topped 100 yesterday in a swath covering West Bend, Watertown, Janesville, Racine and Kenosha.
Records also fell in Wausau, whose 96-degree readings topped the 95 degrees set in 1999, and in Eau Claire, which was 1 degree warmer than the 97 degrees also recorded in 1999.
A severe-thunderstorm watch was in effect Wednesday evening across northeastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.
Strong to severe thunderstorms moved across the Boundary Waters region near the state’s northeastern border. The storms came on the 13th anniversary of a powerful storm that flattened thousands of acres of trees in the area.
The heat also caused ongoing problems on Wisconsin’s roadways.
On Tuesday, high temperatures caused roads to buckle in Chippewa, Columbia, Dane and Lincoln counties. All lanes reopened by Wednesday morning, although additional problems arose in the afternoon.
Two lanes of U.S. Highway 12/18 in Dane County were closed for more than an hour due to what the state Department of Transportation called “pavement blow-ups.” And traffic on Interstate 39 in Columbia Count was diverted onto the shoulder for three hours due to additional pavement buckling.
Also Wednesday, authorizes in Minnesota’s Beltrami County provided an update after straight-line winds gusted to 80 mph and knocked out power to 90 percent of Bemidji at one point. The sheriff’s office said several mobile homes were shifted off their foundations, and an aerial assessment confirmed widespread damage to trees.