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Hochul urges New Yorkers to prepare for extreme heat


Tue, Jul 19th 2022 02:25 pm

High heat & humidity expected to impact most of state from Tuesday to Thursday, with heat index values in high 90s and low 100s

√ Governor encourages people to visit regional cooling centers, stay indoors & check on vulnerable neighbors, as extreme heat and humidity pose danger to everyone – particularly elderly populations & small children

Gov. Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers across the state to prepare for dangerous heat conditions beginning Tuesday and expected to last through Thursday, as a combination of hot temperatures and moderate-to-high humidity levels are expected to cause heat index values in the 90s and potentially the low 100s in certain areas, including the New York City region.

On Tuesday, the threat of dangerously high heat will be downstate in New York City, Long Island, and the lower Mid-Hudson regions. By Wednesday, most of the state will be blanketed with high heat and humidity, with temperatures hovering around 95 degrees. On Thursday, downstate regions will likely experience the most dangerous heat conditions, with heat index values currently expected to break the 100-degree mark.

"The next several days will bring extreme heat throughout the state, with dangerous heat indices potentially reaching into the 100s," Hochul said. "I am urging all New Yorkers to prepare for heat and humidity this week, and to keep a close eye on the weather over the next couple of days. As New Yorkers, we take care of one another, so please don't forget to check on neighbors, especially seniors, those with young children, and people with disabilities."

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "The effects of high heat and humidity over the course of a few days create dangerous conditions that can lead to heat stress and illness. New Yorkers should do their best to stay indoors and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. If you choose to exercise or have to work outside, try to do so in the early morning or evening hours when the sun is down, and temperatures are not as extreme."

New York State Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez oversees the Division of Consumer Protection. He said, "July is typically one of the hottest times of the year in our state and, as the temperature rises, it is imperative that we become more vigilant about protecting our most vulnerable citizens from the extreme heat – in addition to keeping young children safe from the dangers of hot cars, trucks or vans. To help save lives and thwart needless tragedies, I encourage all New Yorkers to learn a few important safety tips and to implement cautionary measures to ensure the wellbeing of the children in their care or any child they encounter in danger."

Hochul’s team said, “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 No. 1 weather-related killer in the U.S. It stated, “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°

√ Loss of alertness, confusion, and/or loss of consciousness.

New Yorkers can learn more, including locations for cooling centers, at the dedicated webpage here.

Agency Preparations

•The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Emergency Operations Center is monitoring weather conditions, communicating with local emergency managers and will coordinate any response needs from local governments. The state's stockpiles are prepared to deploy assets to support localities in need.

•The New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) will be monitoring electric system conditions and overseeing utility response to any situations that may arise as a result of this week's extreme heat. DPS has been in direct contact with utility leaders to ensure they are preparing their systems for the extreme heat, and will be tracking system conditions throughout the event. If necessary, DPS will activate the peak load reduction program for all New York state agencies; the New York independent system operator will activate the voluntary emergency response demand program to curtail load as necessary; and 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 for this heat event. Agency staff will track utilities' work throughout the event and ensure utilities shift appropriate staffing to regions that experience the greatest impact.

Heat Tips

Hochul’s team said, “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.”

The governor’s press release said New Yorkers can stay safe during excessive heat by following the below guidance:

Be Prepared

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 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., which are 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 disabilities. 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.

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, 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% less energy than air conditioners.

√ If purchasing an air conditioner, look for an ENERGY STAR-qualified model, which uses up to 25% 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 lightbulbs instead of standard incandescent lightbulbs, and you can use 75% less energy.

√ Microwave food when possible. Microwaves use approximately 50% 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 three 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 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 state has to offer. The State Parks Marine Services Bureau reminds boaters to practice safe and responsible boating, including:

√ Wear a personal flotation device whenever they are on the water. State law requires that 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.

√ Check the weather before heading out on the water to learn about potential storms, and seek immediate shelter on shore if thunder is audible.

New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Everyone can help prevent hot car deaths, and it's especially urgent with the high temperatures we're experiencing across the state. First and most importantly, never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows open partially. And make it a habit to put something you need in the back next to your child's car seat – keys, a purse or briefcase, or your cell phone – to help you remember to look before you lock. These two actions can save a child's life."

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, "Parents and guardians should never leave a child or a pet alone in a hot car, even if the windows are rolled down, as temperatures can soar to dangerous levels within minutes. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and take appropriate precautions, because children and pets can develop illnesses such as hyperthermia or even die from heatstroke."

Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "As the temperatures rise across the state, I urge parents, caregivers, and pet owners to make checking the back seat of your vehicle for children and pets as part of your routine. It is easy to get distracted and forget about a child or pet sleeping or sitting quietly in the backseat. Please look before you lock. Cars heat up quickly, so leaving a child or pet in a car for even a short time can be extremely dangerous; and when you're not using your car, remember to lock your doors, so children are not tempted to climb into the vehicle to play."

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.

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.

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

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.

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