Slightly cooler, then blazing again

Published 9:34 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2015

After temperatures were tipped to nudge record highs for the area on Tuesday, a cool front was set to arrive overnight and bring some relief, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist in Wakefield.

Mike Rusnak said a stable area of high pressure across the southern states has been responsible for the heat, which reached 96 degrees and a heat index of 101 by about 3 p.m. Tuesday at Suffolk Executive Airport.

“It’s just allowing the air mass to heat up to the level it’s heating up, and keeping thunderstorms away from the area,” he said.

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With the arrival of the cool front, a slighter lower high of 91 degrees was forecast for Wednesday. But Thursday was expected to be back up to 96 with heat index values as high as 105.

Daytime temperatures were expected to remain above 90 through Tuesday, including near 95 on Monday.

Suffolk officials are urging folks to take precautions against the heat, which “can be a dangerous situation, especially for older citizens, infants and the medically fragile,” according to a news release.

Precautions include:

  • Check elderly family members and neighbors to ensure they have a cool place to go if they don’t have air conditioning.
  • Fans by themselves are not enough to prevent heat-related illnesses in extreme conditions. Cold baths or showers can help. Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages — and more of them, regardless of activity level. Two to four glasses an hour are     recommended. Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage when exercising or working outside.
  • Talk to your doctor if you’re on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars, where temperatures can reach more than 150 degrees quickly, causing heat stroke and death, even if the windows are cracked.
  • Wherever possible, keep cool in an air-conditioned area — consider a trip to the mall or library, or visit a friend with air conditioning. (At least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly lowers the risk of heat-related illnesses.)
  • Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits the body’s ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen with a higher SPF. Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool.
  • Give your body a break — the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • When working outside, use the “buddy system” — ensure someone else knows your plans, in case of confusion or loss of consciousness.

Rusnak advised staying out of direct sunlight until 6 p.m. and seeking air conditioning as much as possible.

“Drink plenty of fluids,” he added.