Region hit by two days of extreme heat
A strong wind and drenching humidity filled the area Tu-esday, the second straight day of warm, sticky weather in the Willmar area.
As the day progressed, the heat index, a combination of air temperature and relative humidity, rose to an even 100 degrees by 2 p.m. at the Willmar Municipal Airport, according to the National Weather Service. But that is all slated to change today as temps are forecasted to hit a high of only 68 degrees.
Despite Tuesday's weather, area residents still braved the heat and fear of being blown away and enjoyed the sunny day.
Brad Lundberg, of JE Dunn Construction Company in Minneapolis, said the weather "went from extreme hot to extreme cold" over the weekend.
Lundberg, the project superintendent of the addition onto Rice Care Center on Willmar Avenue, spent Tuesday afternoon with 33 crew members outside installing the concrete base for one parking lot light while others were siding or working indoors.
Lundberg said it wasn't too long ago the crew was complaining about it being to cold inside the building.
"Three weeks ago we were running heat inside and now we are running humidifiers to keep the sweat out," he said.
With a crew working 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, Lundberg said over the past two days he has made sure the crew members were staying hydrated and taking needed breaks.
"The guys will tell you when they are too hot," he joked.
As the crew continued to work through the hot day, 18-month-old Alex Gomm was enjoying the outdoors as he planted his first tomato plant with his parents, Bruce and Amy Gomm.
Along with a friend from church, Christopher Ramirez, the Gomms were determined to plant an array of vegetables in their church's plots at the community gardens in the area of Seventh Street Southeast and Willmar Avenue.
The Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints members all agreed the day wasn't ideal for planting, but Tuesday was the only free day they had.
"Without the wind, it would be some extremely hot weather," Bruce Gomm said.
Amy Gomm agreed but had a very positive attitude about the recent high temperatures.
"We don't usually get very warm days so I'll take them," Amy Gomm said. "It's much better than snow in May."
Now that summer temperatures have hit the area, Jen Ridler, head lifeguard at the Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center, said the pool received a heavy influx of phone calls Tuesday wanting to know when the pool was open.
Set to open its doors to the community at noon today, Ridler said the pool employees are looking forward to a warm summer.
"The warm weather is fun," Ridler said. "We have been getting the pool ready for two to three weeks so we're ready for the swimmers."
Ridler said the pool will be open today if the weather permits -- citing the forecast for a cooler day today. Temperatures are forecast to dip to the upper 60s for a high today with a northwest wind between 13 and 20 mph and gusts as high as 29 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Lundberg said he has received training to help distinguish when crew members are dehydrated or fatigued and urges others to err on the side of caution when it comes to "extreme" weather like the past few days.
"It's not like years ago when people would work until they dropped," Lundberg said. "Now people get fed up with the weather so we try to make sure workers are staying safe."