'Hot weather is dangerous and can kill:' City officials urge residents to take precautions during grueling heat wave
AccuWeather's Bernie Rayno and Jonathan Porter sit down to discuss the heatwave hitting the eastern and midwest parts of the US, and how AccuWeather can help businesses stay cool and protected.
The dangerous heat wave that is producing some of the highest temperatures in years in the eastern U.S. has already made its presence felt in the form of emergency and code red declarations and major event cancellations.
With temperatures expected to surge into the triple digits for a large portion of the northeastern United States, officials in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston are imploring people to prepare for the heat wave this weekend.
Powerful July sunshine paired with a northward retreat of the jet stream are setting up the conditions for an impressive heat wave to build even for midsummer standards for many locations across the Northeast.
"It’s been since July of 2012 that Chicago and Philadelphia both hit 100 degrees, and Washington, D.C., hasn’t hit 100 since August of 2016," AccuWeather Meteorologist Danielle Knittle said.
Kids play in a fountain to cool off as temperatures approach 100 degrees Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP/Charlie Riedel)
On Tuesday, Washington, D.C., activated a heat emergency plan, and by Wednesday, Philadelphia and New York City declared emergencies as well. According to a press release from the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, approximately 500 cooling centers have been activated around the city.
Cooling centers offer air-conditioned spaces and bottled waters to provide ease from the heat. They’re typically activated during times of extreme heat.
On Thursday, the mayor of Boston also declared a heat emergency.
Friday evening, network communication issues halted seven of the the New York City subway lines.
Videos and photos posted on social media showed crowded platforms with people trying to push their way through to the stairs and trying to stay cool with the sweltering temperatures.
"Service is suspended and platforms are boiling. New York cannot function like this," New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer posted on Twitter.
The heat has already had a negative impact in the Northeast. Seven children were hospitalized in Connecticut on Wednesday after becoming sick due to dehydration during a summer camp carnival in Newington, located in the Hartford area, according to the local NBC affiliate.
Officials with the Newington Parks and Recreation Department said about 900 children attended the event and they were in contact with the parents of the children who became ill.
"We have purchased several water spray misters for the children and they were placed strategically around the park. We rented more tents than we have ever had in 38 years. This provided great shade cover and reduced the temperatures about 10 degrees," officials said.
Nevaeha, 8, plays in the fountain at Washington, D.C.'s Canal Park on July 17, 2019. The nation's capital faces the hottest weather so far this summer as a heat wave is poised to spread across much of the central and eastern US over the next several days.
The carnival also had additional water slides and air conditioned rooms in the town hall where participants could cool off. There was also emergency medical personnel on staff.
"We wish to thank the Newington Emergency Medical Service, the Newington Police Department and the Newington Recreation Staff for all of their help dealing with this heat wave," parks department officials said.
On Wednesday, Crestview Center nursing home in Middletown, Pennsylvania, lost power due to storm-related issues, prompting an evacuation of the residents on Thursday once temperatures began to rise, according to Levittown Now.
Firefighters and fire marshals brought temporary cooling equipment Wednesday night before they could evacuate the next day.
Middletown Fire Marshal and Emergency Manager Jim McGuire told the news organization that more than 100 responders were on the scene by Thursday afternoon to help evacuate the 180-bed facility and transfer residents to different facilities.
Thursday evening, the 2019 Verizon New York City Triathlon was canceled due to severe heat warnings and thunderstorm watches in the New York City metro area. There will not be an alternate race weekend. The race had previously been scheduled to take place on Sunday.
Saturday horse races at New York's Saratoga Race Course were also postponed.
"This is a responsible and prudent decision that aligns with our New York Racetrack Heat Management Protocol designed to ensure safe racing for all participants," New York State Gaming Commission Equine Medical Director Dr. Scott E. Palmer said in a statement.
On Friday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency after two fires broke out that morning at Madison Gas and Electric substation. Around 6,009 people were without power in Dane County by Friday afternoon according to poweroutage.us, as the area begins to recover from the power outage that accompanied the explosions.
As of Friday afternoon, MGE began the process of restoring service to customers affected by the power outage. The Kohl Center and libraries are open as public cooling shelters from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. CDT.
A report from the American Transmission Company after investigation found that the explosion and fire at the ATC/MAdison Gas & Electric Blount Street Substation and East Campus Substation had been caused by a transformer that failed.
The Salvation Army is making preparations for the heat wave by extending hours of operation, opening its doors to more people and extending the amount of time people are allowed to stay. The Salvation Army in St. Louis will also be offering fans for those who will need some relief. Homeless shelters across the Northeast are also opening their doors to a higher capacity during the heat wave, so people are able to dodge the heat.
"Almost everyone east of the Rockies is going to be sweltering in the dangerous heat in the coming days," Knittle said.
Some took to Twitter to show they're preparing to take on the heat by completing the water jug challenge, which means they will drink a full gallon of water in one day.
“Extreme heat is dangerous, period,” de Blasio said in a statement. “I urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution this weekend as temperatures near 100. Look out for your neighbors, friends and family and call 311 to find a cooling center. We are deploying all resources at our disposal to ensure New Yorkers remain safe and cool during extreme heat.”
“Hot weather is dangerous and can kill. People with chronic physical and mental health conditions should use air conditioning if they have it, and get to a cool, air conditioned place if they don’t,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
During times like these, Barbot said everyone needs to look out for each other; check on your family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and help them get to a cooling center or another cool place if needed.
“24/7/365, our outreach teams are engaging New Yorkers in need, offering them services, shelter, and a helping hand,” said NYC Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.
In New York City, most heat-related deaths occur after exposure to heat in homes without air conditioners. Air conditioning is the best way to stay safe and healthy when it is hot outside, but some people at risk of heat illness do not have or do not turn on an air conditioner.
"Things people need to be aware and mindful of with the heat and ways they can protect themselves: wear light-colored, lightweight clothing; take frequent breaks if you have to spend a lot of time outdoors in the shade or preferably in an air conditioned place; keep hydrated and avoid alcohol; avoid the peak heating of the day between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; check in with elderly neighbors," Knittle said.
People most at risk are those with chronic medical, mental health, cognitive or developmental conditions, take certain medicines that can affect body temperature, have limited mobility or are unable to leave their homes, are obese, or misuse alcohol or drugs.
It is important to know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke as heatstroke is a medical emergency.
"If you don’t have air conditioning, then make plans to go somewhere that does to keep cool like a mall or movie theater. Never leave kids or pets in the car. If a child's car seat is in the vehicle and the car is too hot to the touch for you, then it will be too hot for the child," Knittle said.
Remember, during hot weather, never leave children and pets unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. Car interiors can reach lethal temperatures very quickly; it takes only two minutes for a car to reach unsafe temperatures.
"With regards to pets, make sure they stay hydrated as well, and protect their paws if they’re outside as the pavement can burn them," Knittle said.Report a Typo
Tropical Storm Beta to spend days pounding Gulf Coast
The newly-formed tropical storm became the latest storm to enter its name into the record books, and forecasters warn the storm may not be done strengthening.
AccuWeather meteorologists increase forecast for record-breaking 2020 hurricane season
Eight tropical systems have already made landfall in the U.S. The slate of names is now exhausted. And AccuWeather forecasters say much more activity is on the way.
Las Vegas set to break record with over 150 rain-free days in a row
After breaking the 61-year-old record on Friday, Las Vegas could continue to see a dry spell lasting into next month.
Oregon fire survivors capture 'unimaginable' damage on video
After thousands in the area were forced to evacuate from a fire that ripped through the town of Talent, Oregon, lives of the residents were "put on pause" from the devastation that cost many their homes.
8 must haves for your car's emergency supply kit
You never know when an emergency will happen, but you can plan for one ahead of time. Here are eight must-haves for your car's emergency supply kit.
AccuWeather School: What would the beach look like without humans?
Picture your last vacation to the beach. Were there homes, resorts or a boardwalk lining the ocean? That is the case at many beaches, but let’s visit one beach where nature has taken back over.