ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — At 84 degrees and high humidity, University of St. Thomas football player Mark Dowdle is already working up a sweat.
You might call Friday afternoon’s practice a prelude to Saturday’s ultimate test.
“As long as we’re hydrated, we don’t get too affected by the weather as long as we’re taking care of what we need to do,” Dowdle said.
Game time temperatures on Saturday are expected to approach 90 degrees. But that’s just part of the equation – relative humidity will approach tropical levels. The combination of the two is already causing high school soccer and college football games to shift starting times to earlier in the morning or later in the evening.
“Everybody thinks heat is great but when it comes to physical activity, you’ve got to be cautious,” MIAC Commissioner Dan McKane said.
McKane explains that last May, the conference enacted a new policy to better protect athletes in extreme weather conditions. It was one of the first leagues to do so.
“We’ve got games that are going to be earlier where it will be warmer, but less humidity, and games later in the evening as well, especially facilities that have lights,” McKane said.
Using what’s called the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature scale, physical exertion is unhealthy and dangerous whenever the combined high temperature and humidity levels reach a reading of 86.1 on the scale.
“It’s absolutely going to be a problem,” said McKane.
Forecasters say that will happen at 1 p.m. Saturday as relative humidity of 60 percent and temperatures in the mid-80s cover much of the state.
It is also why Mark Dowdle and his Tommies teammates will kick off against Hamline a full five hours later than originally scheduled.
“Obviously, it’s not a normal situation so I think it’s going to be a bit different. But we’re excited for the opportunity to see how we can overcome any type of adversity like heat,” Dowdle said.