Heat has already been blamed for the deaths of three people late last week, and more lives are in jeopardy with excessive heat warnings and advisories stretching from eastern New Mexico to Maine and South Carolina this weekend.
Before the weekend began, the mayors of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., declared heat emergencies and both New York City and Baltimore issued Code Red Extreme Heat Alerts. The heat emergencies are expected to end either on Sunday or Monday unless canceled or further extended.
“The temperatures we’re seeing in our city today and tomorrow could be the highest we’ve seen in years. Take it seriously,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged his city in Twitter post Saturday afternoon.
The sun rises over New York City and the Empire State Building while a man sprays water at Pier A on Saturday, July 20, 2019 in Hoboken, N.J. Temperatures in the high 90s are forecast for Saturday and Sunday with a heat index well over 100. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Police in Braintree, Massachusetts, asked people to hold off on committing crimes until after the heat wave passes.
“Folks. Due to the extreme heat, we are asking anyone thinking of doing criminal activity to hold off until Monday,” the department wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. The post has gained more than 120,000 shares since Friday.
Heat emergencies typically involves the opening of cooling centers, the extension of public swimming pool hour and cities often implement special measures to keep residents safe.
By 10 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Boston had reached 90 degrees F with a RealFeel® of 98 degrees F. The day before, temperatures had only reached 73 degrees F by this time.
The temperatures continued to rise in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., all four breaking into the 90s by noon.
At 3 p.m. CDT places along the East Coast, from eastern North Carolina to Massachusetts, reported heat index values in excess of 105 degrees. Some of the highest values (over 110°) were near Chesapeake Bay and surrounding rivers and inlets.
El Paso, Texas tied the record of 104F set on this day in 2014 and 1891. This is the third day El Paso reached 104F this year.
The National Weather Service predicts that about 123 record high minimum temperatures will be tied or broken across about 20 states this weekend.
Sunday will bring another day of numerous record highs being challenged in southern New England and the mid-Atlantic.
A handful of events previously scheduled for the weekend have been either canceled or postponed ahead of the impending heat wave.
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.
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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.
As of Saturday morning, the J. Lo concert is still scheduled for Saturday night in Philadelphia, where temperatures are expected to reach 99 degrees F with an AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature of 108 degrees F.
Do you know the difference between Heatstroke — a medical emergency — and Heat Exhaustion? Here’s a guide with downloadable infographics from NOAA’s @NWS: https://t.co/ksviBChpGq #HeatHealth #HeatWave pic.twitter.com/u82bKNMnjK
— NOAA (@NOAA) July 19, 2019
Residents in excessive heat warned areas are advised to stay indoors if possible and stay hydrated, as many of the areas fall under AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures categorized as “dangerous heat.” These high temperatures can lead to the danger of dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps if someone is outside for extended periods of time.
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. There have already been 21 children who have died from being left in a car for an extended period of time.
On Thursday, the National Weather Service Office in Omaha, Nebraska, demonstrated how hot cars can get in the summer by baking biscuits on the front dash. After a total of eight hours, the staff had their snack. But it took much less tie for the interior to reach a literally baking heat.
“This is a good time to remind everyone that your car does in fact get deadly hot. Look before you lock! On average, 38 children die in hot cars each year. Don’t be a statistic!” the service posted with a photo of a thermometer that read 175 degrees F for the surface of the baking pan after staying inside the car for an hour. It took 45 minutes for the dough to start to rise.
“Relief from the oppressive heat wave will gradually sweep over the central U.S. and into the Northeast into early next week but will come at the expense of severe thunderstorms and flooding downpours,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.