Weather Forecast


Temperatures in Willmar, Minn.,-area to stay in 90s into weekend

Tom Sharp of Pella, Iowa, holds ice Tuesday as he sets up camp for his seventh Sonshine festival on the grounds of the Willmar Civic Center and Senior High School in northeast Willmar. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR - As music at the 32nd annual Sonshine Music Festival gets ready to start at 5 p.m. tonight, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen is forecasting hot and humid weather into the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will be around 92 degrees today, with heat indexes as high as 98. Temperatures Thursday are expected to be around 90 degrees, along with a chance of thunderstorms. It should cool down for the weekend, with highs of 82 degrees Friday and 78 degrees Saturday.

Sonshine is a Christian music festival held each year in Willmar on the grounds of the Willmar Civic Center and Willmar Senior High School in northeast Willmar. Camping is available on the site, and musicians perform on four stages, in addition to other entertainment and activities. The festival's final musical acts perform Saturday night.

While the Sonshine Music Festival has an ambulance service on site 24 hours per day, attendees this week should know the signs of heat stroke in advance.

According to the University of Minnesota's Health Talk, heat stroke occurs when the body's core temperature is higher than 105 degrees, and the warning signs include dizziness, light-headedness, lack of sweating despite the heat, rapid, shallow breathing and throbbing headache.

Jim Kroona, an emergency medical technician with the Willmar Ambulance Service and the director of the Sonshine Music Festival on-site medical tent, said his crew of volunteers are ready to treat festival-goers stricken with heat stroke or other heat-related illnesses.

"Our EMS tent is staffed by volunteers who all work in the medical field," Kroona said. "We are ready to treat anyone with heat stroke just like they would be treated in the emergency room. We'll start IV fluids, get them cooled down, the whole works."

Kroona said festival-goers should remember to stay away from soda and choose beverages that replace electrolytes and, in addition to eating regular meals, eat water-based fruits such as melons. He also stressed the importance of continuously re-applying sunscreen throughout the day.

Whether west central Minnesota residents are attending Sonshine or participating in other outdoor activities this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency has some tips to help prevent heat stroke.

According to FEMA, the best way to prevent heat stroke is to stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible and to limit direct exposure to the sun. Additionally, FEMA recommends eating well-balanced, light, regular meals; drinking plenty of water; and dressing in loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.