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Minnesotans Grapple With Record-Breaking Independence Day Heat

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Crowds flocked to watch the fireworks at Minneapolis’ annual Red, White and Boom celebration, bringing bug spray, water bottles and even some portable fans to deal with Wednesday’s record-breaking heat.

The thermometers showed that Minneapolis reached 101 degrees on Independence Day afternoon, breaking the previous record of 100 degrees set in 1949. It was so hot that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk – and that’s what Keith Schmitz did.

Schmitz has worked as a chef at Mickey’s Diner for more than 10 years. He cracked some eggs on the sidewalk outside the diner, and said within an hour they’d be cooked.

“Sunny side up,” he joked. “I’m here all week. I really am.”

And the heat had people going further than local stores, seeing as fans and other cooling devices were suddenly hard to find.

Rocky Gonzales, the store manager at the Target on the corner of Hamline and University, said the store restocks fans daily. However, staff has had trouble keeping any on the shelves during the current heat wave.

“People have been lining up at the doors to be able to get them,” he said.

And people are right to be looking for relief. Dr. Gary Mayeux of Regions Hospital in St. Paul said it’s imperative that people find relief when temperatures and humidity levels reach such highs.

“People don’t realize that they’re getting dehydrated, particularly people that are elderly or children,” he said.

The Regions emergency room has seen a handful of extreme heat stroke or heat exhaustion cases every day during the current heat wave.

Mayeux says it’s important to stay ahead of the game.

“Usually, the later signs [of heat exhaustion] are actually thirst. So people think: ‘Oh, I’m thirsty, I should drink.’ They are right, but they are actually a little bit late,” he said.

The signs of heat exhaustion include increased heart rate, vomiting, cramping and when it gets more serious, people can feel confused, even hallucinate.

And after days of seeing extreme heat and humidity, it’s prudent that precautions are taken.

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