ITHACA, N.Y. — If you’re planning to spend any time outdoors this weekend, be prepared for some very hot weather. As another heatwave pushes into our region, high temperatures will reach the mid and upper 90s Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and with the high humidity also in place, the heat index index will reach triple digits.

According to the National Weather Service, a heatwave is expected to hit Central New York for several days starting this weekend. The maximum heat index is predicted to be as high as 103 degrees in Ithaca on Sunday, and in the upper 90s Saturday and Monday. The high-temperature Sunday is predicted to be around 98 degrees according to the National Weather Service in Binghamton, but combined with humidity it will feel like it’s in the 100s from early afternoon through mid-evening, about 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For the curious, the NWS defines heat index in more detail here.

With such high temperatures, there is an increased risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially for the young, elderly, people in poor health and people who are outdoors for long periods of time. The Tompkins County Health Department has some tips and resources to be prepared.

The following tips and information come directly from the Tompkins County Health Department:

  • Drink plenty of water – 2 to 4 glasses per hour, depending on level of activity
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
  • Prevent sunburn by applying sunscreen if you must be outside (SPF 15 or higher)
  • Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks that cause dehydration
  • Take a cool shower or go swimming
  • Wear a ventilated hat, such as straw or mesh
  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles
  • Go to air-conditioned spaces such as a mall, library, or community center
  • Use caution with electric fans; they create air flow and a sense of comfort, but do not lower body temperature.

Who is Most at Risk? Infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill, have chronic medical conditions and/ or on certain medications.

Know the warning signs of heat-related illness. Check out the County’s Preparedness Page.

Every heat-related illness and death is preventable! You can help prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths by checking on people in your community during periods of extreme heat and, if needed, offering to drive them to an air-conditioned location. A/C is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death, according to the CDC.

Be Familiar with the Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness

Heatstroke is the most serious. Signs and symptoms include an extremely high body temperature above 103 degrees; hot, dry, red skin; rapid pulse; loss of alertness; confusion; rapid and shallow breathing and unconsciousness. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and you should call 911 immediately.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness and is characterized by heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting, cool clammy skin, fainting.

If you see someone showing these symptoms, move the person to a cool place, loosen their clothes and apply cool, wet cloths.

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Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.