Cooling centers are opening up all over the Northeast, in an effort to help residents deal with the ongoing heat wave. Local governments and health officials advise people to take excessive precaution to combat the heat wave that will be plaguing the east coast until Friday. Temperatures are expected to stay high within the 90s in New York City, Boston, Wilmington, Washington, D.C., and even Detroit.
The Weather Channel is describing the threatening forecast as a large dome of high pressure, which likely is to result in "hazy, hot and humid" temperatures throughout the week. Heat waves can be killers, just like the 1980 heat wave that took more than 10,000 lives in the central and eastern United States and cost an estimated $20 billion in damages and costs to agriculture.
Temperatures will rise up to 10 degrees above average, and because it's only the middle of July, meteorologists predict there will be many more dangerously hot weeks ahead. Evening and overnight temperatures will offer little relief with the sun gone away. Relief will also arrive late in the week when a cold front could trigger numerous thunderstorms Thursday through Saturday.
"Excessive temperatures and oppressive humidity levels are a dangerous, and potentially deadly, combination," Kate Murray, Hempstead Town Supervisor, told Newsday. Hempstead is one of many Long Island and northeast towns that will keep extended hours of air conditioned buildings for residents.
Officials highly recommend staying out of the sun during peak hours or 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., remaining indoors and drinking plenty of water, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol, as they dehydrate the body. According to the National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading weather-related causes of deaths in the United States. Hundreds of people die every year from heat stroke and head exhaustion.
The New York State Department of Emergency Management also advises to never leave children, seniors, or pets in parked cars, and to check on elderly neighbors, or those with special needs. Each year, 30 to 50 children and an unknown number of pets die from hyperthermia when left inside the car on a hot day. Regardless of whether or not the windows are down, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures as high as 200°F on a hot day. Hyperthermia can even occur on a mild day, in which the body absorbs more heat than it can handle, and is more severe to children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults, according to the National Weather Service.
If one cannot avoid going outside, dermatologists recommend at least SPF 30 broad spectrum, along with a hat. In order to stay as cool as possible, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, which should be loose fitting but cover as much skin as possible.
According to the Weather Channel, "What makes this heat wave dangerous is not necessarily the magnitude of the heat, but rather its longevity."