Record-breaking heat scorches New York area

December 15, 2010 10:54:23 AM PST
Excessive heat and oppressive humidity have created dangerous weather conditions across the New York area.

The heat index reached well into the triple digits across the area, with highs reaching the upper 90s across the Eyewitness News viewing area and even the low 100s in New Jersey. New York City broke a record when it hit 97 debrees in Central Park. Newark also broke a record at 99, and even an ocean breeze couldn't cool off Seaside Heights, which topped out at 99 as well.

Most of the viewing area remains under a heat advisory until 6:00 Sunday night.

Sunday's highs were expected to reach into the low to mid 90s, with continued high humidity, but a cold front will pass through the region late in the day, with cooler temperatures and less humidity expected by Monday.

To help beat the heat this weekend, residents were being urged to drink lots of water, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and stay in air-conditioned areas, if possible. Cooling centers were also open in several major cities across the state.

New York City has more than 200 cooling centers open to help residents battle the heat. CLICK HERE to find a cooling center.

There is a also warning for those who head to the beach this weekend that there could be dangerously strong rip currents. Swimmers are advised to only head into the water where a lifeguard is on duty.

Authorities also urge residents not to open fire hydrants. It's not only illegal, but could impact firefighters abilities to put out potential fires.

Spray Caps and Fire Hydrants:

Opening fire hydrants without spray caps is wasteful and dangerous. Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure, which can cause problems at hospitals and other medical facilities and hinder fire-fighting by reducing the flow of water to hoses and pumps.

The powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can also push children into oncoming traffic. Call 311 to report an open hydrant.

Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a city-approved spray cap. One illegally opened hydrant wastes up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute, while a hydrant with a spray cap only puts out around 25 gallons per minute.

Spray caps can be obtained by someone 18 or over, free of charge, at local firehouses.

LINK: AVOIDING HEAT-RELATED ILLNESSES

Heat illness is serious. Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. The added stress caused by heat can also aggravate heart or lung disease even without symptoms of heat illness.

Call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you have these symptoms:

  • Hot, dry skin or cold, clammy skin
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation

    Ready New York - Beat the Heat Tips:

  • Use an air conditioner if you have one.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place, such as an air-conditioned store, mall, museum or movie theater. Or, visit a cooling center.
  • Use a fan if the air is not too hot. Fans work best at night to bring in cooler air from outside. Use a fan only when the air conditioner is on or the windows are open.
  • Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.
  • If possible, stay out of the sun. When you're in the sun, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible, wear a hat to protect your face and head, and use sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to protect exposed skin.
  • Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car.
  • Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool - sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.

    Conserve Energy:

  • During periods of extremely hot and humid weather, electricity use rises, which can cause power disruptions.
  • Don't set your air conditioner thermostat lower than 78 degrees.
  • Use air conditioners only when you're home, and only in rooms you're using. If you want to cool your home before you return, set a timer that turns on no more than 30 minutes before you arrive.
  • Turn off nonessential appliances.

    For more information on coping with extreme heat, see the Ready New York: Beat the Heat guide at NYC.gov/OEM.

    For more information on the health effects associated with extreme heat visit NYC.gov/health.


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