Records broken across region

Published 9:54 am Thursday, July 5, 2012

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.

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A number of communities canceled fireworks shows because of hot and dry conditions, while others said they would proceed with caution.

The southeastern Wisconsin city of Greenfield said its show would go on, but as a precaution officials spent 48 hours hosing down the park where the program would be held.

“The grass here is relatively short,” Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn said. “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, breaking 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 were likely to break century-old records today, said Marc Kavinsky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The old records for today 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 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 County was diverted onto the shoulder for three hours due to additional pavement buckling.

Also Wednesday, authorities 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.


No record for Albert Lea


The temperature in Albert Lea on Wednesday climbed to 95 degrees. The record for July 4 remains 103, set in 1911.

Records for coming days are:

July 5: 97, 1982

July 6: 102, 1936

July 7: 98, 1936

July 8: 99, 1974

July 9: 98 1921, 1976

July 10: 102, 1936