Excessive Heat Warning in the Finger Lakes

Cayuga County’s Director of Emergency Services reports that the temperatures today are expected to be in the low to upper 90s across much of New York, with heat index values reaching up above 100. Multiple heat warnings and advisories have been issued by all 5 of the National Weather Service Offices. In addition to high heat, today will be the longest day of the year with the highest sun angle of the year. The summer solstice begins at 7:00 p.m. this evening.High temperatures, combined with heat index values, pose a threat to not only people but also infrastructure such as utilities, roads, and bridges. Power lines are prone to sag due to high heat temperatures and warming caused by increased electrical demand. During periods of increased heat, electrical usage increases approximately 5.5 percent above normal. Roads can often soften due to high heat and concrete roads may crack and/or explode. Steel bridges and other steel infrastructure will expand as a result of the increased heat. Water cooling is a frequent practice to minimize the effects of the heating. As a result of the increased water usage, water supply and pressure may be greatly affected impacting fire suppression efforts in urban and rural areas. People who work outdoors should remember to take necessary precautions to keep their body cool and hydrated by seeking shade and drinking plenty of fluids. Additionally, anyone who is participating in strenuous outdoor activities should remember to take breaks, stay hydrated, and replenish salts and minerals to avoid dehydration and heat related injuries. For those participating in strenuous activities, cold fluids should be readily available.What can I do during a heat wave?• Use air conditioning to cool down or go to an air-conditioned building. (Finger Lakes Mall, Wal*Mart, or Grocery stores nearest you. • If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, open windows and shades on the shady side and close them on the sunny side to try to cool it down.• Drink plenty of fluids but avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.• Beat the heat with cool showers and baths.• Take regular breaks from physical activity.• Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.). • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help keep cool.• Stay out of the sun as much as possible. • Wear sunscreen and a ventilated hat (e.g., straw or mesh) when in the sun, even if it is cloudy.• Never leave children, pets or those with special needs in a parked car, even briefly. Temperatures in the car can become dangerous within a few minutes. Conserve water and power during heat waves• Set your thermostat no lower than 78° F.• Only use air conditioning in rooms that you are occupying.• Turn off lights and non-essential appliances when they are not in use.• Only run dishwashers and washing machines when they are full and during hours of low energy demand (between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.).• Only water your lawn in the early morning or evening hours.• Store drinking water in the refrigerator (so that you do not have to let the tap run while waiting for it to cool).• Defrost food in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave (instead of running water to thaw it).• Take short showers.• Only fill the tub halfway when bathing.• Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth.Who is most at risk from the heat?• Older adults• Young children• People who are overweight/obese• People who do not perspire normally• People with some chronic medical conditions such as history of dehydration, heart problems and respiratory or lung problems• People who work outdoors or in hot settings• People who take certain medications that cause sensitivity to the sun or interfere with the body’s ability to sweat and stay cool. Some medicines that affect the body’s cooling system include antihistamines, antidepressants, over-the-counter sleeping pills, anti-diarrhea pills, beta blockers, anti-Parkinson’s drugs and psychiatric drugs. Do not stop taking medication unless instructed to do so by your doctor.

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