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Cuomo urges New Yorkers to prepare for extreme heat this week

Mon, Aug 10th 2020 04:15 pm

High temperatures & increased humidity could pose danger to at-risk populations, including elderly and small children

Department of Public Service to closely monitor electric system conditions and response operations by utilities

State beaches and pools remain open with density reduction requirements in effect

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday urged New Yorkers statewide to take precautions as a significant portion of the state is expected to experience potentially dangerous heat conditions through Wednesday, Aug. 12. Heat index values ranging from the low-90s to 100 degrees are expected in the New York City, Long Island, Mid-Hudson and Capital regions, as well as portions of the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Central New York regions. New Yorkers can monitor local weather forecasts for the most up-to-date information.

"With a new wave of extreme heat set to impact New York, I am urging everyone to take all precautions necessary for keeping you and your families safe," Cuomo said. "This type of heat is especially dangerous for young children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions. I encourage everyone to limit outdoor activity and if you're looking to stay cool at beaches and pools, please remember to wear your mask and practice social distancing."

On Monday, temperatures are expected to range between the mid-80s and low -90s with a change of thunderstorms across the state, except for New York City and Long Island. Temperatures on Tuesdays are forecast to be similar to Monday, before beginning to slightly cool off by Wednesday. This period of hot weather will result in an increased risk of heat stress and heat-related illness. People who are susceptible to heat related illnesses – including young children, the elderly, those who exercise outdoors, those involved in vigorous outdoor work, and those who have respiratory diseases such as asthma – should take necessary steps to stay cool as temperatures rise.

Already, the National Weather Service has issued several heat advisories that cover most of the state. Advisories are issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel like it is 95 to 99 degrees for two or more consecutive days, or 100 to 104 degrees for any length of time. Advisories in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Central New York regions are expected to expire by Monday evening, while advisories for the Capital Region are expected to last through Tuesday evening. Heat advisories for areas in the southern Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island regions are expected to remain in effect through Wednesday. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.

The New York State Department of Public Service will be monitoring electric system conditions and overseeing utility response to any situations that may arise. If necessary, DPS will activate the Peak Load Reduction Program for all New York state agencies. In addition, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) will activate its voluntary emergency response demand program to curtail load as necessary.

State parks, beaches and pools also remain open. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, density reductions of 50% of total capacity are in place. Prior to making a trip, potential visitors should check https://parks.ny.gov/ for capacity alerts and closure announcements. Park status updates are also available on the free New York State Parks Explorer mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

Heat Tips

Excessive heat is the leading cause of preventable, weather-related deaths each year, particularly among the elderly. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat causes more than 600 preventable deaths in the U.S. yearly. To help New Yorkers stay safe during excessive heat, the governor offered the following tips:

The following people are most at risk:

  • Elderly persons and small children are mostly affected;
  • Persons who are overweight/obese; and
  • Persons on certain medications or drugs.

√ Be Prepared:

Avoid strenuous activity and exercise, especially during the sun's peak hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Exercise and activity should be done in the early morning between 4-7 a.m.

Drink plenty of water and noncaffeinated beverages.

Stay out of the sun and try to cool off in an air conditioned building for a few hours during the hottest part of the day. The sun heats the inner core of one’s 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 one must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect 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 one’s body.

Do not leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked car or vehicle 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.

Make an effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have special needs. Make sure there is enough food and water for pets

Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness

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
  • Vomiting

For more information on how to stay safe during periods of excessive heat, click here.

New Yorkers Urged to Conserve Electricity

Taking smart steps to reduce energy use, particularly during periods of peak demand, not only helps to lower the state's peak load, it will save 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 the air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home. Use advanced power strips to centrally "turn off" all appliances and save energy.

If purchasing an air conditioner, look for an ENERGY STAR-qualified model. ENERGY STAR air conditioners use up to 25% less energy than a standard model.

Fans can make rooms feel five to 10 degrees cooler and use 80% less energy than air conditioners.

Set the air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher to save on 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 the home. The 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 the 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 use up to 75% less energy.

Microwave food when possible. Microwaves use approximately 50% less energy than conventional ovens.

Dry clothes on a clothes line. If using a clothes dryer, remember to clean the dryer's lint trap before every load.

Be mindful of the different ways of consuming water throughout the 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 the washing machine and rinsing in cold water will reduce energy use.

Additional tips on how to conserve energy is available on NYSERDA's website here.

Water Safety

Boaters should make sure to take proper safety precautions when enjoying the many boating opportunities New York has to offer. The State Parks Marine Services Bureau offers the following safety tips.

Boaters are reminded to practice safe and responsible boating, including:

  • Wear a personal floatation device whenever they are on the water. State law requires children under age 12 wear a personal flotation device while on a watercraft;
  • Complete a safe boating course;
  • Properly equip and inspect their vessel;
  • Maintain a prudent speed;
  • Refrain from mixing alcohol with boating; and
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out on the water to learn about potential storms and seek immediate shelter on shore if thunder is audible.

People paddling canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards should know their abilities and take precautions when there are high or steady winds creating large waves, or when they are in strong currents. Paddlers in waters where there are motorboats should keep close to shorelines and out of main channels.

For more information about boating safety, including listings of boating safety courses, and marine recreation in New York, click here.

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