It was 98 degrees in Dickinson but it felt like 104
With heat advisories and hazardous weather outlooks in place, the National Weather Service in Bismarck warned southwestern North Dakotans that the heat was coming Tuesday. Forecasts couldn't have been more right.
According to an NWS forecast discussion at 2 p.m., Hettinger recorded an early afternoon high temperature of 101 degrees.
Ice cream and heat often go hand-in-hand and business was good Tuesday for Delwayne Olson of Hettinger, and his triplet 13-year-old grandchildren who are visiting for a month from Albuquerque, N.M., he said.
The crew operates an ice cream van, but surprisingly business had been better a few days ago when it was chilly, Olson said.
"The kids are standing around in swimsuits and buying ice cream in the rain," he laughed about his young customers.
By 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dickinson wasn't far behind Hettinger's high temp when the temperature reached 98 degrees -- matching a record set in 1961. Medora, South Heart, Gladstone and Bowman also recorded temperatures between 97 and 98 degrees.
Dickinson hasn't hit the 100-plus-degree mark for a few summers, according to the NWS.
"It looks like it might go all the way back to August of 2008," said Corey King, emergency response specialist at NWS in Bismarck.
High humidity and dew points worked to drive the heat index in Dickinson up to 105 degrees after noon Tuesday. By 3 p.m., it dropped a degree to match heat indexes in Gladstone, South Heart and Medora. At that same time, heat indexes in Hettinger and Bowman dropped to 100 degrees as humidity and dew points also declined.
"It's so beastly hot," said Earleen Friez of Hettinger. "It's one of those days you don't know if you should walk to businesses or get in vehicle and die when you open the door."
People can overheat quickly when heat and humidity combine, King said, adding, "The key thing is to drink plenty of fluids, take breaks and keep yourself in a cool spot."
Klark Byrd contributed to this report.