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Scorching temps expected Monday; severe storms possible

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In a year that's been colder than normal, we're in for summer's first significant scorcher of the year.

Temperatures Sunday are expected to be several degrees warmer than they were Saturday, reaching the mid-80s, and it's expected to be even hotter Monday, which will make way for the potential for severe storms.

The hot, humid airmass that's settling over Minnesota Sunday could produce thunderstorms Sunday afternoon and night, mainly north of the Iron Range. Some of the storms could become severe, with damaging winds and heavy rain possible, the National Weather Service says.

Hot, humid Monday

Temperatures are expected to reach the lower 90s Monday, combining with "oppressive" dew points in the middle to upper 70s, resulting in heat indices ranging from 100 to 110 degrees, the National Weather Service says.

The sauna-like temperatures have prompted the weather service to issue a heat advisory for central and southern Minnesota from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, as well as an excessive heat warning for the Twin Cities metro. The warmest conditions are expected in the Minnesota River Valley, the weather service notes.

The heat and humidity will set the stage for a round of severe storms Monday night, with wind damage being the main threat.

Heat safety tips

In a year that's been colder than normal, we're in for summer's first significant wave of heat this year. Many aren't acclimated to the hot temperatures expected for the next few days, so the conditions may lead to a heightened risk of heat-related stress and illness, especially for the young and elderly, and those without air conditioning, the National Weather Service says.

The weather service says it's important to know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The Mayo Clinic says heat exhaustion is preventable, but can lead to heat stroke if proper steps aren't taken.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise. Possible symptoms include: Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat, heavy sweating, faintness, dizziness, fatigue, a week, rapid pulse, low blood pressure upon standing, muscle cramps, nausea and headache, Mayo says.

If someone thinks they're experiencing heat exhaustion it's important to stop all activity and rest, move to a cooler place and drink cool water or sports drinks. If symptoms worsen or don't improve within an hour, contact a doctor, Mayo says.

Heat stroke, which is the most serious form of heat injury, can occur when a person's body temperature rises to 104 degrees or higher, the Mayo Clinic says. If heat stroke is left untreated, it can quickly damage a person's brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage to those organs worsens the longer treatment is delayed, which can increase the risk of serious complications or death, Mayo says.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

– High body temperature: 104 degrees or higher is the main sign of heat stroke.
– Altered mental state or behavior: Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heat stroke.
– Alteration in sweating: In heat stroke brought on by hot weather, a person's skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However in heat stroke brought on by strenuous exercise, skin may feel moist.
– Nausea and vomiting, or feeling sick to the stomach.
– Flushed skin: Skin may turn red as a person's body temperature increases.
– Rapid breathing: Breathing may become rapid and shallow.
– Racing heart rate: A person's pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a burden on the heart to help cool the body.
– Headache.

If a person is showing signs of heat stroke, the Mayo Clinic advises to seek medical help immediately by calling 911. It's important to take immediate action to help cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment. Do so by getting the person into shade or indoors, remove their excess clothing, and cool them with whatever is available – put them in a cool tub or water or cool shower, spray them with a garden hose, sponge them with cool water, fan them while missing them with cool water, or place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person's head, neck, armpits and groin, Mayo says.

To prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke, officials urge people to take extra precautions if they work or spend time outside, and if possible reschedule strenuous activities to the early morning or evening, when temperatures won't be as hot.

It's important to wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothing and drink plenty of water if working outdoors, and take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.

The weather service also recommends checking up on relatives and elderly neighbors who may be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

The Minnesota Department of Health says heat-related illness accounted for 44 deaths in Minnesota from 2000-2012, with 19 of those deaths occurring in 2001. For those years, the month of July has had the highest number of heat-related deaths, with 23.

The state Department of Health notes that deaths directly related to heat are not common in Minnesota and often are unidentified, which leads to an underestimation of heat-related deaths.

Here are some additional tips to prevent heat-related deaths. The Humane Society also has tips on how to keep pets safe in the heat.

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