Dangerously high temperatures threatened much of the Northeast and Deep South on Thursday, as large swaths of the country sweltered under a heat wave that could continue for days and raise temperatures in places like Boston, Little Rock and Virginia Beach.
As some temperatures approached the 37.8 degrees Celsiusmillions of Americans sought comfort by staying in the shade of their homes or in air-conditioned offices, and cooling off at fountains, beaches, or cooling centers.
The heat was expected to last into the weekend, prompting officials to urge people to seek shelter, as well as to drink plenty of water and be good samaritans by checking on elderly neighbors looking for signs of distress.
“It’s going to be very hot and humid. Hydrate and stay in shaded areassaid James Tomasini, a meteorologist in Uptown, New York.
In the city area of New YorkTemperatures will climb back into the 32s, below records, but the high humidity in the air will make it feel well above 37 degrees, he said.
Excessive heat warnings, issued when the heat index exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius) continuously for at least two hours, were current in parts of the Deep South and mid-Atlantic areas.
Heat advisories spread along the eastern seaboard, from South Carolina to southern Maine.
In Bostonresidents and visitors were doing their best to cool off during the third of what could be a six-day period with temperatures over 32 degrees.
The mayor of BostonMichelle Wu on Thursday extended a previously announced heat emergency in the city through Sunday and urged residents to take advantage of cooling cores and splash pads.
Nancy Cahill took her young grandkids to the New England Aquarium and stopped at one of those water rides on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on the way out.
“We’re very lucky to have access to swimming pools,” said Cahill, 63, who lives in Wakefield, about 15 miles north of the city. “We are also lucky because we have air conditioning. I feel bad for those people who don’t have that right now.”
Josh Austin and his wife Michelle traveled from New Hampshire with their two young daughters to visit the aquarium and also enjoy the splash pad.
“I’m sure there is some aspect of this heat wave that is the result of global warming: higher temperatures for longer periods of time.”said Josh, 40, a sustainability manager. “But I think it’s also typical of New England summers to have these hot stretches.”
In the Tidewater area of southeastern Virginia, temperatures were expected to reach 38, but humidity will push the heat index beyond 40.5 degreessaid meteorologist Tim Gingrich.
“People could suffer heat exhaustion and heat stroke if they are outside for a significant amount of timeGingrich said. “You don’t want to be outside in the hottest part of the day.”
Cooling centers sprang up in swaths of the country to alleviate the sweltering heat and high humidity.
At a community center run by the Salvation Army in Brooklyn, one of the organization’s eight facilities open in New York City, it was so hot not a soul was milling around outsidesaid Capt. Jack Tripari, the facility’s chaplain. in a working-class neighborhood.
“We’re trying to provide them with water and a nice cool place,” he said.
People seeking relief from the heat have come sporadically, staying for around half an hour before returning to the heat.
“We have had some families come with their children. Some have gone out to run some errands and are a little too hot. So they step in and try to cool down a little bit,” Tripari said.
This summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest on record, not only in the United States but in all Europe and other parts of the world.
In Arkansas, a combination of scorching temperatures and humid air across much of the state prompted excessive heat warnings, which could cause some people to succumb to heat stroke and other weather-related ailments.
(With information from AP)
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