The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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August 27, 2013

Heat wave prompts school dismissals


School administrators in the western Nebraska town of Alliance decided to send students home early after local forecasters predicted temperatures in excess of 90 degrees. Some classes in the 1,600-student district are held on the third floor, and temperatures rise when students fill the room.

“It can get uncomfortable even when the temperatures are in the upper 80s,” superintendent Troy Unzicker said.

Minneapolis students attended school all day, but administrators canceled after-school activities and distributed 750 cases of water to schools. Officials also sent industrial fans to the 18 buildings that lack air conditioning, district spokeswoman Rachel Hicks said. Parents were advised to dress their kids in light clothing, while staffers watched for symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

With temperatures again forecast in the mid-90s in Minneapolis, classes today were going ahead as planned. The district said parents could keep their children at home if they felt it necessary.

In Des Moines, organizers of a downtown farmers market set for Wednesday postponed the event out concern over the extreme heat

The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a statewide advisory for vulnerable populations, including young children and the elderly. Sometimes our natural defense against extreme heat — sweat — won’t suffice, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said.

“Especially when the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly,” she said.

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