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The doggone hot days of summer

Using plastic buckets and refreshing water, Dave Blom's grandchildren found a way to cool off in the heat on Monday, August 26, 2013 in his backyard on Fillmore Street in Alexandria, Minn. (Contributed)1 / 2
One of Dave Blom's granddaughters, Grace Mynczywor, beat the heat by throwing water on herself in Blom's backyard in Alexandria, Minn., on Monday, August 26, 2013. (Contributed)2 / 2

The heat is on.

Not just the typical warmth of summer but a suffocating, blast-furnace type of heat that cloaks your every pore the second you step outside your air-conditioned house or car.

With heat advisories in effect all this week, many residents are forgoing their typical summer routines of lawn work, running, gardening, biking or enjoying the outdoors.

It's just too blasted hot.

Temperatures spiked into the 90s for four straight days — 90 degrees last Saturday, followed by highs of 92, 94 and 92.

It's expected to get into the mid-80s today and may hit 90 again on Saturday before dropping into the 70s on Sunday and Labor Day Monday.

August of 2013 will go down in the record books as the hottest August we've had in 10 years, as far as 90-plus high temperatures. Temperatures will have climbed into the 90s seven times this month.

That equals the number of 90-degree days in the last nine Augusts combined. Last August, temperatures hit 90 or more only twice and in 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006 and 2004, it didn't get into the 90s once in August.

This month is similar to what happened in August 2003 when temperatures soared into the 90s seven times, including a five-day stretch with a blistering high of 96.

In the decade before that (1992-2002), the hottest August was in 2001 when five 90-degree days were recorded.

This summer, it's as if Mother Nature flipped on the heat switch on August 17 when temperatures hit 81 degrees, one-degree hotter than average. Temperatures have been way above normal every day since then, including an 18-degree departure from normal this past Monday.

Because of the extreme heat and humidity, Alexandria Light and Power (ALP) is nearing an all-time electrical peak.

On Monday, ALP issued a news release encouraging customers to conserve electrical energy during late morning through dusk on these hot days.

ALP explained that it has more than enough electrical capacity to serve all local needs. However, if the utility sets new peaks, its electrical rates may have to be increased.

As a municipally-owned utility, the rates ALP charges residents and businesses are based entirely on its cost to serve its customers. That's why ALP is encouraging customers to conserve as much energy as they can to help keep costs down.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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