High heat, storm chances for big weekend events in Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

High heat, storm chances for big weekend events in Eau Claire

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The air show this weekend is expected to bring in 65,000 people, and with a heat wave and chances of thunderstorms, the weekend weather has some safety concerns.

We talked with officials on how these events are preparing. This weekend, temperatures are expected to be at least 90 degrees. The humidity only makes it worse. It could feel like 100 degrees or hotter out there - all while tens of thousands of people will be outside under the sun and in danger of heat-related health emergencies.

"As you're looking for symptoms in others, again, looking at someone looking like they need to sit down, like they may be falling down, that they are looking a little bit weak," said Gina Schemenauer of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department. "Maybe their skin is looking a little bit pale. We know that some of our elderly population and children are more vulnerable in the heat. So, it's definitely something to watch out for those populations as they are out in the extreme heat this weekend."

So what can you do to keep safe from possible heat stress and exhaustion?

"Definitely keep drinking water throughout the day, don't wait until you are thirsty," said Schemenauer. "We also know that if you are outside and if you are able to get anywhere near water or even stick your feet in a pool, your feet can definitely cool down your body very quickly."

Air show staff have recently changed their policies on carry-ins to help prevent these health emergencies.

"You can bring in a sealed water bottle to the show to have some water to start the day with," said Tim Molepske, executive director of the Chippewa Falls Boy Scouts of America. "You can bring an empty water bottle to fill up. We have filling stations here. Also, you'll have the ability to buy water here. Then, just make sure to stay hydrated and get as much shade as you possibly can."

Officials recommend bringing sunglasses, hats, sun screen and even umbrellas as shelter from the sun. They also said to avoid drinks that can accelerate dehydration like pop and alcohol.

Hot weather is not the only concern. There are chances of thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday, and with thousands of people in a large field, what is the emergency plan if severe weather hits?

"We do have some shelters on and off the air field designated as emergency shelters for storms if we do have them," said Allyn Bertrang, deputy chief of the Eau Claire Fire Department. "We will open those if necessary. We have the maintenance building here at the airport. We have the terminal building. Another one is the National Guard Armory that can be opened if necessary for severe weather."

The fire department also asks people plan for rain or a canceled show if the weather is a major concern.

As for the Blue Ox Music Festival, storms hit the event two years ago.

Related article: Storms hammer Blue Ox Music Festival

The festival president said if thunderstorms break out, they'll send people to their cars. They said most acts perform in the rain, but delay for severe weather. When it comes to the heat, the festival will allow people to bring in empty bottles or mugs they can fill with water at filling stations.

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