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No retreat for heat wave in coming days

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news Grand Forks, 58203
Grand Forks Herald
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Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

A heat wave hit the Grand Forks area Monday and weather experts say it's here to stay until the end of the week -- and probably into next month.

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High temperatures in the 90s coupled with humid conditions propelled heat index values to more than 100 degrees in the region.

"It's pleasant summer weather if you like the heat," said Mark Ewens, data manager for the Grand Forks National Weather Service office.

Grand Forks didn't hit its predicted high of 94 thanks to cloud cover, but the day remained hot and sticky.

The weather service issued a heat advisory for eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota at 6 a.m. Monday, predicting heat index values reaching between 100 and 105 degrees. The advisory was in effect from 1 to 7 p.m.

Violent storms

A severe thunderstorm watch was also issued for Grand Forks County at 11:45 a.m. and remained in effect until 7 p.m. Monday.

Severe storms hit hard across northwestern Minnesota Monday evening. Emergency managers advised against nonemergency travel in Bemidji, where the storm knocked down several power lines and caused significant tree damage, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.

Pete Speicher of the Weather Service said preliminary reports gave wind speeds of up to 60 or 80 mph.

"It is a lot of trees down in mainly in Bemidji and the Lake Itasca State Park area," he said. The storm also covered areas popular with campers this time of year.

All phone systems were down except for 911 for emergency calls.

Because there is no electricity or phone lines working in the city, all of the information for the Bemidji Pioneer Press is being sent to the Forum in Fargo, where people will work overnight to finalize the layout.

The paper will then be shipped to Detroit Lakes for printing and distributed to Bemidji.

The damage centered on Beltrami County and extended south into northeastern Ottertail Count and northwestern Wadena County.

Heating up

The heat wave is expected to stick around the remainder of the week, with temperatures hovering in the upper 80s and lower 90s.

The nighttime lows will remain in the middle to upper 60s. There is a possibility of thunderstorms predicted for the next four days. The storms will provide some relief to the mugginess, but Ewens said to expect Independence Day to be a humid one.

The region is expected to endure above-average temperatures through at least the middle of July. The hot streak may even stick around until August Ewens said.

The above-average temperatures carry over from June, which was the 24th warmest on record for Grand Forks and seventh warmest for Fargo, according to the High Plains Climate Research Center.

Ewens couldn't say for sure if temperature records will be broken this month, but there is a possibility.

In the meantime, he recommends residents take precautions against heat-related illnesses.

"Do what you can to keep cool," he said.

Failure to do so may result in a trip to the hospital. About half a dozen patients were admitted to Altru Hospital with heat-related illnesses Sunday and Monday, according to a nursing supervisor.

Rough roads

City streets felt the brunt of the high temperatures Sunday and Monday. A section of the 2500 block of South 38th Street was closed to repair a buckle in the road that occurred Sunday. The section of concrete could be seen jutting 2 feet above the rest of the street before it was prepared.

The buckling and heaving of the streets is caused by a buildup of pressure under the concrete said Mike Roufs, a city street department supervisor.

Moisture underneath the concrete and heat hitting the top of it creates pressure that is released when the street buckles.

Sometimes the pressure escapes through the cracks in the concrete without causing major damage to the street.

Roufs says he believes this was the case for another surface break occurring Monday on South 20th Street near 21st Avenue South.

"We've put blacktop on it so people can drive over it," he said. "It's just a little bump."

Other times, the pressure causes the street to pop up.

The 1200 block of 32nd Avenue South experienced this type of surface break. That section of the street was repaired, but Roufs said the whole section will have to be redone before the summer ends.

The 1300 block of North 42nd Street also experienced some buckling. The area was cleared of debris and paved over with blacktop.

Street crews encountered similar issues each summer when the temperatures begin to rise, Roufs said.

Residents noticing any loose areas of concrete are asked to call the street department at (701) 738-8740 to report the location.

Reach Jewett at (701) 780-1108; (800) 477-6572, ext. 108 or send email to bjewett@gfherald.com.

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Brandi Jewett
Brandi Jewett is an enterprise reporter for the Grand Forks Herald with beats focusing on northwest Minnesota, unmanned aircraft systems and East Grand Forks city government. Other positions she has held at the Herald include Grand Forks city government reporter, general assigment reporter and news intern. A native of Valley City, N.D., 24 years worth of winters haven't scared her out of the state yet. Follow her work at www.grandforksherald.com and on Twitter and Instagram: @brandijewett. Send tips and story ideas to bjewett@gfherald.com. 
(701) 780-1108
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