Near-record late summer heat will linger long enough to make Husker tailgate parties feel like a July Fourth cookout.

So what is the best thing you can do to weather the heat and the festivities? Start drinking Saturday morning — water that is.

Nebraska opens the football season Saturday night with a 7 p.m. game against Wyoming in Lincoln.

Cindy Brison, a registered dietitian and educator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, said early hydration will pay off all day.

“Lots of water, even tea and coffee are OK,” she said. The latter seems contrary to the typical admonition against caffeine, but Brison said most tea and coffee drinkers have adjusted to the effects of the caffeine.

Even though it will mean more trips to the Porta-Potty, Brison says to keep drinking sufficient water throughout the day.

Brison had some other advice for tailgaters. She noted that Saturday will be steamy enough — afternoon temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s — that food will go bad easily. So follow the standard picnic guidelines and keep hot things hot and cold things cold.

Other suggestions:

» Load up on watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe and other foods with a high water content.

» Pull food out of coolers for no longer than an hour at a time.

» Plan individually wrapped entrees such as sandwiches so that you can grab them from the cooler as needed and don't have to cook.

» Alternate your cans of beer or glasses of wine with glasses of water.

» Drink extra water if you're eating salty snacks or drinking margaritas from salt-rimmed glasses.

» If you work out Saturday morning before partying, refuel with a protein-carbohydrate snack, such as a glass of milk and a sandwich, within one-half hour of exercising.

Scott Dergan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said sunshine is likely Saturday afternoon, but clouds could begin moving in at about game time. Winds will be light in the evening, so don't expect a breeze to relieve the built-up heat in Memorial Stadium.

There's an outside chance of rain during the game, but showers are more likely to happen overnight.

Temperatures in Lincoln this week have been on a pace to rank as the city's second hottest final week of August, Dergan said. Saturday's high, however, is not expected to approach Lincoln's record for the day of 103, he said.

Come Sunday, cooler weather will prevail, with highs in the upper 80s.

Monday should be a perfect holiday: Mild, highs in the low 80s, and not too humid.

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