MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Grasping for what makes summer special has been tough during the pandemic.

Water parks are closed. Movie theaters and their skin-soothing air conditioning just reopened. Escaping the heat hasn’t been as easy this summer as embracing it. Bloomington resident Matthew Weideman is one of those embracers.

“I like the heat, but I think I like the heat more than other people. So if it’s in the 90s, I don’t mind,” Weideman said.

His friends Tyler Blurg, Kenny Blumenfeld and Andrew Harding feel differently.

“I think we had a few weeks where it was just excessively hot. It was in the upper 90s, mid 90s,” BIurg said.

“And really it’s the humidity that gets to me more than anything,” Harding said.

If there’s a sweet spot for ideal summer weather in Minnesota, Kenny Blumenfeld, senior climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has figured it out.

“What we found though is that nobody complains when it’s 78 degrees and sunny,” Blumenfeld said. “So what you’re really looking for are temperatures during the day in the 70s, lows at night either in the upper 50s or low 60s.”

Blumenfeld’s office came up with a not-so scientific way of measuring the perfect summer day called the “Summer Glory Index.” For a perfect score, the daily high temperature must be between 73 and 79 degrees. The low should be around 60 degrees. There can’t be any rain and the humidity must be below 60 degrees. Points are deducted if the temperatures and rainfall totals land out of those ranges.

“Obviously if you get that kind of condition every single day of the summer you’re gonna be in trouble because there’s no precipitation,” Blumenfeld said. “This summer we’re actually kind of around the 25th-30th percentile historically. So it’s definitely not one of the nicest summers on record, but it’s also not among the very worst we’ve ever had.”

Since June 1, Minnesota has experienced 52 days with temps in the 80s and 14 days with temps in the 90s, both not scoring well on the Summer Glory Index. Wash-out rain storms though have been few and far between, which balances out the high number of hot days on the index.

As a reminder, what’s ideal to a Minnesotan might not be the case to people living across the United States.

“Some of the researchers have found that our physiology and our ability to handle this [summer weather] is somewhat relative to where we live. So what feels really oppressive to you and me or to Minnesotans might feel a little more tolerable to people in the south, closer to the Gulf of Mexico,” Blumenfeld said.

Tuesday, temperatures pushed in the 90s in the Twin Cities, with a heat index making it feel as though it’s around 100 degrees. Definitely not ideal, but also not reflective of a certain season only a few months away.

“It sure beats the winter, so I’m not gonna complain too much about it,” Blurg said.

Jeff Wagner

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