Cue Martha and the Vandellas! Temperatures are forecast to be in the high 90’s and low 100’s across New Jersey. While we often casually throw around the term “heat wave,” there are some specific requirements for weather to qualify as such–and the end of this week just might make the cut.
Defining Heat Waves:
Generally, heat waves or extreme heat, are defined by temperatures that hover about 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for a region, and last for prolonged periods of time. More specifically, in the Northeast, heat waves are defined as three or more days with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. Days with temperatures below 90 degrees can still qualify as a heat wave depending on humidity levels, which determine a heat index threshold.
One thing nearly everyone can agree on, though, is that extreme heat can be uncomfortable, and in some instances, dangerous. Familiarize yourself and your family with these important terms to understand the weather’s intensity and make smart choices about spending time outdoors.
- Heat ADVISORY:
Issued when the heat index is to exceed 105 degrees (100 degrees for New York City) for less than three hours a day for two consecutive days.
- Excessive Heat WATCH:
Issued when it is possible the heat index will exceed 115 degrees for any length of time or when the heat index will exceed 105 degrees for three or more hours for at least two consecutive days.
- Excessive Heat WARNING:
Issued when the heat index is expected to exceed 115 degrees for any length of time or when the heat index will exceed 105 degrees for three or more hours for at least two consecutive days.
- Ozone Health ADVISORY:
Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
- Heat Index:
A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it really feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature.
- UV Index:
Forecast of the amount of skin-damaging UV radiation expected to reach the earth’s surface at the time when the sun is highest in the sky (solar noon).
Watch for Signals:
- Heat exhaustion: Cool, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature may be normal, or is likely to be rising.
- Heat stroke: Hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high — sometimes as high as 105 degrees. Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
Looking for ways to beat the heat? Try these tips to stay cool and safe all summer long.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Insulating your home will help you conserve electricity and reduce the strain on your home’s power demands. Be sure to weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cool air inside, allowing the inside temperature to stay cooler longer.
- Use your fan. Setting fans to rotate counter-clockwise to pull warm air up to the ceiling while pushing cooler air down. This will also help you cut down on air conditioning costs.
- Install window air conditioners snugly. Insulate spaces around air conditioners for a tighter fit. An air conditioner with a tight fit around the windows or wall openings will make less noise and allow less hot air in from the outside.