MARSHALL - A blanket of blistering heat covered Marshall and the rest of southwest Minnesota on Monday as residents fought the unforgiving sun during their summer activities.
With a heat index that reached 99 degrees Farenheit, the weather cast a hot spell for children, joggers and mowers alike.
The Marshall Aquatic Center teemed with activity, and patrons splashed the heat away with no problem.
Photo by Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe
Under the scalding sun lifeguard Abby Surprenant watches over swimmers at the Marshall Aquatic Center on Monday.
"I like the heat because it's a good excuse to come to the pool with the kids and enjoy my time off of work. It's a great way to beat the heat," said Jacob Zimmer, a pool patron.
Marshall Aquatic Center Manager Stephanie Gorman ensures the safety of lifeguards on sweltering days by encouraging open-chair umbrellas, applying and reapplying sunscreen, taking regular breaks, and most importantly, staying hydrated. Keeping swimmers and employees out of harm's way is Gorman's priority.
"We notice a lot more patrons on hot days like this."
Down the road from the Aquatic Center at the little Dairy Queen, employees Emily DeSchepper and Sam Onken prepared vanilla cones and banana splits for customers eager to cool off with frozen sweets.
"We're so busy when it's hot. It's very fast pace and constant moving," DeSchepper said of working during humid summer days.
Although Monday's sun was searing, the weather did not stop Marshall's Jane Wall from performing her duties at Shopko.
Unfazed by the heat, Wall said, "It's the humidity that bothers me more, but I think it's normal for July. Every year we get a couple weeks of this heat. We just have to live with it."
City employee Dave Callens had a similar mindset on his outdoor task at Independence Park. His advice: "Drink plenty of water and just do your job."
The Minnesota Department of Health would agree, as it recommends drinking more fluids than usual, but to avoid liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Staying indoors is also advised, but if you must remain outside for a long period of time, the Department of Health encourages lightweight clothing and checking on those who may be at higher risk of a heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion has a variety of signs, but can include paleness, tiredness, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.
Kathy Guetter of Wabasso stayed cool Monday by keeping a jug of water at her side. Her two granddaughters played out of the sun under the shady protection of a tree at Independence Park on Monday but avoided some park favorites.
"The slides are too hot to go down. They just want to be in the shade," said Guetter.
But in spite of the heat advisory issued Monday by the National Weather Service, Marshall residents did not let the scorching humidity get in their way.
Austin Vandendriessche, a Marshall High School senior, keeps busy during the summer by working on a farm and mowing lawns. "I'm hot, sweaty and thirsty. It's not bad though. As long as you keep working it's fine."
Despite the forecast for more sultry temperatures this week, the city of Marshall is planning to go ahead with its July 4 celebrations as planned Wednesday.
"We're hoping for a light breeze, not only to help with cooling, but for the Festival of Kites," said Doug Goodmund, assistant director of community services in Marshall.
Goodmund said the heat isn't necessarily a deterrent for people to enjoy the festivities outdoors. One important factor, he said, "is people can come and go," and take time to cool down if needed.
At the same time, he said, adults should be watchful of children in the heat, and people should remember to drink plenty of water.
Staff writer Deb Gau contributed to this story.