The Northeast Heats Up

A heat wave has settled over the Northeast, with extra-hot weather also in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes

Jul 15, 2013 | By Abby Abrams
FRANK CEZUS—GETTY IMAGES

The sun sets over Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes region is experiencing unusually high temperatures this week.

Things are heating up across the Northeast this week. A blistering heat wave has spread over the region, with extra-high temperatures also reaching the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes.

In the Northeast, a heat wave is defined as three or more days in a row with temperatures above 90 degrees. Temperatures are expected to top out in the low to middle 90s Monday through Thursday from Hartford, Conn. and Providence, R.I. to New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

Roasting New Yorkers try to beat the heat at Washington Square Park, on Saturday, July 6. The city has declared a heat advisory warning because of high temperatures.
RICHARD B. LEVINE—NEWSCOM
Roasting New Yorkers try to beat the heat at Washington Square Park, on Saturday, July 6. The city has declared a heat advisory warning because of high temperatures.

Hot, Hot, Hot

But outdoor temperatures will feel even warmer than that. Heat index is a measure of how hot it feels outside, taking into consideration both temperature and humidity. This week, experts say heat index values may reach the upper 90s and low 100s. “If the heat index value is around 110 in the south and about 105 in the north, then that’s considered a period that you want to be careful,” Jannie Ferrell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, told TFK.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory Monday for New York City. It will be in effect until midnight Tuesday. This means temperatures can be dangerous, and people should avoid tiring outdoor activities and should try to stay cool.

Major League Baseball’s 84th annual All-Star Game will take place in New York City on Tuesday night. By Tuesday evening, temperatures are expected to hover around the mid to upper 80s, but lots of humidity could make the air feel hotter.

Earlier this month, temperatures rose above 100 along the East Coast. It was the first time in almost nine years that temperatures hit the triple digits in New York City's Central Park and at Philadelphia International Airport.

What’s causing such hot weather? A large zone of hot air in the upper atmosphere has settled over the East Coast, Ohio Valley, and Great Lakes. Cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and Cincinnati will also see temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s over the next few days.

Relief from the heat will not arrive until the end of the week, when a cold front will slowly shove the hot, humid air southward. This change will begin Friday in the southern Great Lakes and over the weekend in the Ohio Valley and Northeast.

Staying Safe

While the heat is here, experts say to be careful and to stay smart about which activities you do outside. People are advised to drink plenty of water and stay in air-conditioned areas as much as possible.

“Try not to play outside during the heat. When there’s a heat advisory or heat wave, kids want to play outdoors, but it’s not smart to stay outside,” Ferrell said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offers some tips for staying healthy in hot weather:

Slow down, and reduce strenuous activity. Whenever possible, do outdoor activities in the early morning or late evening instead of midday.

Dress in lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing.

Drink plenty of water.

Eat light, easy-to-digest foods.

Seek out shade if you have to be outdoors for extended periods. Spend more time in air-conditioned places.

Check on elderly neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure they are okay.

When outside, take frequent dips in the ocean or pool. Or mist yourself with a water bottle. When inside, take frequent cool baths or showers and use cold compresses to cool off.

Apply high-SPF sunscreen frequently when outdoors.