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Heat wave sets in during final week of August

The Labor Day weekend is seen as the unofficial end of summer. But the season isn't going out with a whimper, as this week's temperatures will be at or near the century mark. It hit 95 Monday in Mitchell.

The forecast high for today is 100, the National Weather Service was reporting Monday morning; it's 101 for Wednesday and 98 on Thursday. It's predicted to "cool down" to 93 on Friday and 94 on Saturday before dropping down below 90 on Sunday.

The nights won't be as warm as they were in July and early August, however, with overnight lows around 70 this week. The highs will come close to records in the area.

Todd Heitkamp, a National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist based in Sioux Falls, said this is just a "continuation" of the hot, dry summer.

"Some areas may come close to setting records, but I don't think it will be a widespread record outbreak," Heitkamp said. "I don't think it's unusual, no. It has been awhile since we've seen this, though."

There is one less option for people to cool down, as the Mitchell Aquatic Center closed Sunday. Many of the pool's staff have returned to high school or college, so there is no way to remain open, according to Mitchell Parks and Recreation staff.

Local students started back in school last week. While the opening week of classes wasn't that hot, this week will be back at midsummer highs.

Superintendent Joe Graves said unlike some school districts, heat isn't a high concern in Mitchell.

"We've basically got everything air-conditioned around here," Graves said.

He said coaches are told to provide more breaks and additional water to athletes during practices and contests. Athletic Director Geoff Gross works with the coaches to ensure no one is put at risk in extreme weather, Graves said.

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