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Updated: Albert Lea elementary schools to release early through Thursday because of heat index

The Albert Lea school district announced Monday afternoon it will release elementary students early the remainder of the week because of high heat index threats in the afternoons.

“The heat index, combined with our mandatory mask requirement on school buses, creates an unsafe situation for the transportation of our students,” the district stated in a message to parents.

There will be no afternoon voluntary pre-K and early childhood special education classes. Albert Lea High School and Southwest Middle School will release at their normal times of 1:15 p.m. and 1:25 p.m. Distance learning students will following their normal schedule.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory from noon to 9 p.m. Monday with heat index values up to 102 expected. Isolated thunderstorms are also possible this afternoon, and storms are expected to become widespread Monday night.

The Weather Services stated severe thunderstorms are possible, with a threat of large hail, damaging winds and a possible tornado. The storms are also capable of producing heavy rainfall, and bring a risk for flash flooding.

High heat indices are expected the remainder of the week in the upper 90s in southern Minnesota.

The National Weather Service advised people to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.

People should know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible.