Governor Kathy Hochul today urged New Yorkers to prepare for dangerous heat conditions impacting many regions throughout the State on Thursday. High heat and humidity will cause heat index values to reach or exceed 100 degrees in the Capital Region, Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island regions, with indices in the high 90s in parts of the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier regions. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories for many of these regions, which are currently in effect through Friday.
“More dangerous heat is on the way for many New Yorkers and I’m urging everyone to prepare for high humidity and temperatures later this week,” Governor Hochul said. “My administration is closely watching the forecast and will provide support to any communities needing assistance this week as we experience heat index values reaching and exceeding the 100s beginning on Thursday.”
New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “New Yorkers should prepare now for extreme heat expected to impact much of the state starting on Thursday this week. We are monitoring weather conditions and working with local government partners to ensure they have what they need during this week’s heat. As we once again face dangerous temperatures, New Yorkers should plan ahead to stay cool: keep strenuous outdoor activity to a minimum, stay hydrated, don’t leave pets or small children outside for extended periods of time and know how to spot signs of heat-related illness.”
New Yorkers should monitor local weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.
The New York State Department of Health also reminds New Yorkers that heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet annually many people suffer from the effects of extreme heat. Some individuals are at a higher risk for heat-related illness than others. New Yorkers should learn the risk factors and symptoms of heat-related illness to protect themselves and those they love.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Hot, dry, red skin
- A rapid pulse
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- A body temperature higher than 105 degrees
- Loss of alertness, confusion, and/or loss of consciousness
You can also find more information about where you can locate a Cooling Center near you and other helpful extreme heat-related advice, by visiting the New York State Department of Health’s emergency weather webpage.
Summer heat can lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, a major component of photochemical smog. DEC and DOH will issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter, are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index value of 100. Information about the Air Quality forecast for New York State can be found here.
A drought watch remains in effect for 21 New York counties. The counties under drought watch are Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Suffolk, Tompkins, Wyoming, and Yates. New York State is encouraging residents in affected counties, particularly those dependent on private groundwater wells, to conserve water whenever possible during the coming weeks. For water-saving tips, visit DEC’s webpage at dec.ny.gov/lands/5009.html. For more information about drought in New York, go to: dec.ny.gov/lands/5011.html.
DEC issued the following suggestions for outdoor recreation in hot weather to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke that could cause a dangerously high body temperature:
- Wear sunscreen
- Slow your pace
- Drink water and rest more often
- Seek shade and avoid long periods in direct sunlight
- Do not hike in extremely hot weather
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “During extreme temperatures, heat-related illnesses happen when the human body can no longer cool itself. The most common illnesses are heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses is especially important for older adults and children, and as Governor Hochul recommends, taking basic precautions will protect against experiencing health issues due to dangerous temperature levels.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Dangerous temperatures will again affect communities across the State and it is crucial that New Yorkers follow the important precautions to prevent or exacerbate health issues. The Governor and our team of agencies are working together to help those most impacted by the extreme heat by increasing public awareness of the steps residents can take and the resources available to keep people safe.”
New York State Department of Public Service CEO Rory M. Christian said, “It’s important for the public to continue to look for ways to lower their electricity usage and staying cool and hydrated. By taking action now, we can lower electricity usage during this heat wave while staying healthy and safe.”
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New Yorkers across the state, especially those living in historically underserved communities, are increasingly vulnerable to the burdens caused by more frequent, excessively hot temperatures during the summer months. With approaching temps up to 100 degrees or more, NYSERDA encourages New Yorkers to take advantage of the many energy-saving tips that will help them improve their comfort, stay cool, and manage energy costs during these extreme heat waves.”
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the weather forecast with a close eye on the heat index this week. DHSES is communicating with local emergency managers across the state and will coordinate any potential State agency response to aid local governments. The State’s stockpiles are equipped to deploy resources, as needed, throughout impacted parts of the state.
Department of Public Service
The New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) is tracking electric system conditions and overseeing utility response to any situations that may arise as a result of this week’s extreme heat. New York’s utilities have approximately 5,500 workers available, as necessary, to engage in damage assessment, response, repair, and restoration efforts across New York State for any weather-related impacts this week. Agency staff will track utilities’ work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions that experience the greatest impact.
Excessive heat is the leading cause of preventable, weather-related deaths each year, particularly among the elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat causes more than 600 preventable deaths in the United States every year. To help New Yorkers stay safe during excessive heat, follow the below guidance:
Taking precautions to avoid heat exhaustion is important, and this includes adjusting your schedule to avoid the outdoors during the hottest hours of the day and modifying your diet and water intake when possible.
- Taking precautions to avoid heat exhaustion is important, and this includes adjusting your schedule to avoid the outdoors during the hottest hours of the day and modifying your diet and water intake when possible.
- Reduce strenuous activities and exercises, especially during peak sunlight hours.
- Exercise should be conducted early in the morning, before 7 a.m.
- Eat less protein and more fruits and vegetables. Protein produces and increases metabolic heat, which causes water loss. Eat small meals but eat more often. Do not eat salty foods.
- Drink at least two to four glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
- If possible, stay out of the sun and stay in air conditioning. The sun heats the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a public building with air conditioning
- If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.
- When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.
- Never leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked vehicle, especially during periods of intense summer heat. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit quickly. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill within a matter of minutes.
- Try to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have individual needs. Make sure there is enough food and water for your pets.
- Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. Call 911 if you or someone you know shows signs or symptoms of heat illness, including headache, light headedness, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
Taking smart steps to reduce energy use, particularly during periods of peak demand, not only helps to lower the state’s peak load but also saves consumers money when electricity is the most expensive. To reduce energy use, particularly during peak periods, the public is encouraged to take some of the following low- or no-cost energy saving measures:
- Close drapes, windows, and doors on your home’s sunny side to reduce solar heat buildup.
- Turn off air conditioners, lights, and other appliances when not at home and use a timer to turn on your air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home. Use advanced power strips to centrally “turn off” all appliances and save energy.
- Fans can make rooms feel 10 degrees cooler and use 80 percent less energy than air conditioners.
- If purchasing an air conditioner, look for an ENERGY STAR qualified model, which uses up to 25 percent less energy than a standard model.
- Set your air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher to save on your cooling costs.
- Place your air conditioner in a central window, rather than a corner window, to allow for better air movement.
- Consider placing the unit on the north, east or the best-shaded side of your home. Your air conditioner will have to work harder and use more energy if it is exposed to direct sunlight.
- Seal spaces around the air conditioner with caulking to prevent cool air from escaping.
- Clean the cooling and condenser fans plus the coils to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently and check the filter every month and replace as needed.
- Use appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and ovens early in the morning or late at night. This will also help reduce humidity and heat in the home.
- Use energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs instead of standard incandescent light bulbs, and you can use 75 percent less energy.
- Microwave food when possible. Microwaves use approximately 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens.
- Dry clothes on a clothesline. If using a clothes dryer, remember to clean the dryer’s lint trap before every load.
- Be mindful of the different ways you’re consuming water throughout your home. Instead of using 30 to 40 gallons of water to take a bath, install a low-flow showerhead, which uses less than 3 gallons a minute.
- Lowering the temperature setting on your wash machine and rinsing in cold water will reduce energy use.
- Additional tips on how to conserve energy are available on NYSERDA’s website here.
Safety Tips for ALL Bodies of Water
- Adult Supervision. This is the number one way to prevent drowning. Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate a Water Watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone, drinking alcoholic beverages, or otherwise distracted.
- Choose bright colors. Studies show the color of one’s bathing suit can make a difference in visibility. Consider the color of your child’s swimsuit before heading to a pool, beach or lake. For light-bottomed pools, neon pink and neon orange tend to be the most visible. For lakes and dark-bottomed pools, neon orange, neon green and neon yellow tend to be the most visible.
- Identify swimmers in need of help. While we tend to think that swimmers in trouble will be waving their hands and making lots of noise, this may not always be the case. Watch out for people whose heads are low in the water (mouth submerged) or tilted back with mouth open, eyes closed or unable to focus, legs vertical in the water, or who are trying to swim but not making progress.
- Swimming Lessons. Multiple studies show swimming lessons prevent drowning. Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
- Learn CPR. Every second counts and CPR can help in an emergency.
Open Water Safety Tips
- Wear Life Jackets. Put life jackets on kids anytime they are on a boat or participating in other open water recreational activities. Personal flotation devices should always be used for children that do not know how to swim. New York state law requires that children under 12 wear a Coast Guard-approved life vest on a boat or water vessel. For more information on proper life jackets, go to the United States Coast Guard site.
- Choose a spot on the beach close to a lifeguard, and swim only when a lifeguard is on duty.
- Watch for warning flags and know what they mean. Green flags usually mark designated swimming areas – be sure to swim between the green flags. Yellow flags may denote a surfing beach or an advisory. Red flags indicate a danger or hazard, and no one should swim when they are shown. Flag designations may vary so be sure to understand the color coding before you dive in.
- Watch out for rip currents. Rip currents are powerful currents moving away from shore. They tend to form near a shallow point in the water, such as a sandbar, or close to jetties and piers and can happen at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes! They are the number one hazard for beachgoers and can pull even the strongest swimmers out to sea. If you are caught in a rip current, try to remain calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, and float or tread water if you begin to tire. More from the National Weather Service, Break the Grip of the Rip!
- Beware of large waves and strong surf. Ocean swimming is different from swimming in a calm pool or lake. Large waves can easily knock over an adult. Be prepared for strong surf as well as sudden drop-offs near the shore.
Pool Safety Tips
- Put Up Barriers. Install appropriate safety barriers around in-home pools and spas. This includes fences, gates, door alarms and covers.
- Pool Alarms. Install a pool alarm to detect and provide notification of unattended pool access.
- Small Pools. Drain and put away smaller portable pools when not in use.
- Cover Drains. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid them getting stuck. Children’s hair, limbs, jewelry or bathing suits can get stuck in a drain or suction opening. Also, ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety standards, which include drain shape, drain cover size, and rate of water flow. Learn more here.