US East Coast endures first official heat wave of the summer in 2013

Excessive Heat Warning Issued for NYC and East Coast as Heat Wave Becomes Official

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the New York metropolitan area as dangerous levels of heat and humidity were on tap for Sunday.


The advisory, which is issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel like it's 105 degrees or greater, was in effect from noon to 8 p.m. for the city's five boroughs, Long Island, Rockland and Westchester counties and parts of New Jersey.


Con Edison reported that the utility had set an all-time peak usage record for a Sunday a little after 6 p.m., when 11,283 megawatts of power had been used. The previous all-time peak was recorded in August 2005, when 10,866 megawatts of power were used.


Nassau County extended the closing times at all county outdoor swimming pools until 8 p.m to help residents cope with the heat.


Sunday is the third straight day of temperatures in the 90s, making the area's heat wave official. Slight relief is expected for Monday with temperatures in the high 80s and a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening.


On Wednesday and Thursday a cool front sweeps in across the area bringing a good chance of showers and storms that should break the heat and usher in less humid air for next weekend.

 

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Historic, dangerous heat wave scorches western USA

Historic, dangerous heat wave scorches western USA

Fox News - 28 Jun 2013

A blazing heat wave expected to send the mercury soaring to nearly 120 degrees in Phoenix and Las Vegas over the weekend settled across the West on Friday, threatening to ground airliners and raising fears that pets will get burned on the scalding pavement.
The heat was so punishing that rangers took up positions at trailheads at Lake Mead in Nevada to persuade people not to hike. Zookeepers in Phoenix hosed down the elephants and fed tigers frozen fish snacks. And tourists at California's Death Valley took photos of the harsh landscape and a thermometer that read 121.
The mercury there was expected to reach nearly 130 through the weekend -- just short of the 134-degree reading from a century ago that stands as the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.
"You have to take a picture of something like this. Otherwise no one will believe you," said Laura McAlpine, visiting Death Valley from Scotland on Friday.
The heat is not expected to break until Monday or Tuesday.
The scorching weather presented problems for airlines because high temperatures can make it more difficult for planes to take off. Hot air reduces lift and also can diminish engine performance. Planes taking off in the heat may need longer runways or may have to shed weight by carrying less fuel or cargo.
Smaller jets and propeller planes are more likely to be affected than bigger airliners that are better equipped for extreme temperatures.
However, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport officials reported no such heat-related problems with any flights by Friday evening.

David Reyes, left, and Shavaar Hanes take a break from posing for photos with tourists as the Mario Brothers along The Strip, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Las Vegas.

The National Weather Service said Phoenix reached 116 on Friday, two degrees short of the expected high, in part because of a light layer of smoke from wildfires in neighboring New Mexico that shielded the blazing sun. Las Vegas still was expecting near record highs over the weekend approaching 116 degrees while Phoenix was forecast to hit nearly 120. The record in Phoenix is 122.
Temperatures are also expected to soar across Utah and into Wyoming and Idaho, with triple-digit heat forecast for the Boise area. Cities in Washington state that are better known for cool, rainy weather should break the 90s next week.
"This is the hottest time of the year, but the temperatures that we'll be looking at for Friday through Sunday, they'll be toward the top," said National Weather Service meteorologist Mark O'Malley. "It's going to be baking hot across much of the entire West."
The heat is the result of a high-pressure system brought on by a shift in the jet stream, the high-altitude air current that dictates weather patterns. The jet stream has been more erratic in the past few years.
Health officials warned people to be extremely careful when venturing outdoors. The risks include not only dehydration and heat stroke but burns from the concrete and asphalt. Dogs can suffer burns and blisters on their paws by walking on scorching pavement.
"You will see people who go out walking with their dog at noon or in the middle of the day and don't bring enough water and it gets tragic pretty quickly," said Bretta Nelson, spokeswoman for the Arizona Humane Society. "You just don't want to find out the hard way."
Cooling stations were set up to shelter the homeless as well as elderly people who can't afford to run their air conditioners. In Phoenix, Joe Arpaio, the famously hard-nosed sheriff who runs a tent jail, planned to distribute ice cream and cold towels to inmates this weekend.
Officials said personnel were added to the Border Patrol search-and-rescue unit because of the danger to people trying to slip across the Mexican border. At least seven people have been found dead in the last week in Arizona after falling victim to the brutal desert heat.
In June 1990, when Phoenix hit 122 degrees, airlines were forced to cease flights for several hours because of a lack of data from the manufacturers on how the aircraft would operate in such extreme heat.
US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher said the airline now knows that its Boeings can fly at up to 126 degrees, and its Airbus fleet can operate at up to 127.
While the heat in Las Vegas is expected to peak on Sunday, it's unlikely to sideline the first round of the four-week Bikini Invitational tournament.
"I feel sorry for those poor girls having to strut themselves in 115 degrees, but there's $100,000 up for grabs," said Hard Rock casino spokeswoman Abigail Miller. "I think the girls are willing to make the sacrifice."

 

 

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NHTSA Unveils Campaign to Prevent Child Heatstroke Deaths in Cars

NHTSA - 26 Jun 2013


Nationwide ads urge parents, caregivers to think "Where's baby? Look before you lock"

WASHINGTON – With unseasonably warm temperatures already striking many areas around the country, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced its first-ever national campaign to prevent child heatstroke deaths in cars, urging parents and caregivers to think "Where's baby? Look before you lock." Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle related deaths for children under the age of 14, with at least 33 fatalities reported in 2011 alone.


"This campaign is a call-to-action for parents and families, but also for everyone in every community that cares about the safety of children," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "It is hope that the simple tips from this campaign will save lives and help families avoid unnecessary heartache."


In the coming weeks, the agency will launch a series of radio and online advertisements centered around the theme "Where's baby? Look before you lock," as well as a tool kit for parents and grassroots organizations to use in local outreach on the issue. Later this summer, NHTSA will release its findings on the effectiveness of after-market products that are intended to prevent a child from being unintentionally left behind in an enclosed parked vehicle.


Data from the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences report 33 children died last year due to heatstroke – medically termed "hyperthermia" – while there were at least 49 deaths in 2010. An unknown number of children are also injured each year due to heatstroke in hot cars, suffering ailments including permanent brain injury, blindness, and the loss of hearing, among others. Often heatstroke deaths and injuries occur after a child gets into an unlocked vehicle to play while unknown to the parent. Other incidents can occur when a caregiver transporting a child as part of a change in their daily routine inadvertently forgets a sleeping infant in a rear-facing car seat in the back of the vehicle.


"Everything we know about this terrible danger to children indicates heatstroke in hot cars can happen to any caregiver from any walk of life – and the majority of these cases are accidental tragedies that can strike even the most loving and conscientious parents," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "We hope our campaign not only helps caregivers avoid accidentally harming a child but also clears up some of the misconceptions about the causes of child heatstroke in cars."


NHTSA's "Where's baby? Look before you lock" campaign urges parents and caregivers to take important precautions to prevent inadvertent incidents from occurring:


Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle – even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on
Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away
Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected
Do things that serve as a reminder a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidently left in the vehicle, writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the car seat
Teach children a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach
In addition, NHTSA urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. If the child is in distress due to heat they should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.


Today's announcement comes on the heels of an unprecedented effort by NHTSA to highlight the issue of child heatstroke in hot cars. Last summer, the agency hosted a first-of-its-kind roundtable on heat-stroke and series of town hall discussions around the country that brought together representatives from the automotive industry, child safety advocates, health and safety professionals, members of the academic community, and victims.

 

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