QUINCY – With a heat wave forecast to last through Sunday, municipal cooling centers are opening, public health officials are urging residents to take protective measures, and the Humane Society of the United States is reminding pet owners to take special care of their animals.
On its discussion page for the region, the National Weather Service noted the dramatic change from recent weeks, stating “after an extended stretch of almost early fall-like weather, summer has returned with a vengeance, and appears here to stay at least through the end of July.”
For the next nearly two weeks, according to the Weather Service, the federal Climate Prediction Center “shows high confidence in above normal temps in climatologically the warmest part of the year. For reference, normal highs for mid to late July are generally in the low to mid 80s. Expect multiple days in the 90s away from the coast.”
Is relief in sight?
A bit, but not until after a scorching weekend.
“Oppressive heat and humidity continues for remainder of the week with little nighttime relief,” the Weather Service said. “A round of strong to severe thunderstorms look likely for at least parts of the region on Thursday. Slightly cooler by early next week but temps remain above normal.”
Here’s what you need to know.
What are the forecast temperatures for the days ahead?
According to the National Weather Service, the South Shore will see a high of near 94 degrees on Wednesday, near 93 on Thursday, near 94 on Friday, near 93 on Saturday and near 91 on Sunday, with moderation not coming until Monday, when the forecast high is near 87. Humidity is expected to be high across the state.
What are the dangers associated with excessive heat and humidity?
“Extreme heat can be dangerous and even life-threatening if proper precautions are not taken. In extreme heat and high humidity, the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature,” according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. "Most heat-related illnesses occur because the victim has been over-exposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition."
Who is at increased risk of heat stroke, exhaustion or cramps?
Certain populations including “older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight,” according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
What protective measures are advised when you are outside?
Never leave children or pets alone in a car – even with the widows cracked – the state warns, and avoid strenuous activity. Other tips include wearing lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing; drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol; eating light, regular meals; and staying indoors as much as possible.
It's getting hot in here: New England summer temperatures will likely be above normal
What about when you are inside?
"If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Use fans to stay cool and avoid using your stove and oven. Consider spending time in air-conditioned public spaces, such as schools, libraries, theaters, and other community facilities," the state said. "If there are power outages during warm weather, you may need to take additional precautions or go to a cooling center or emergency shelter to stay cool."
What if I need shelter from the heat?
Most cities and towns in the state are opening cooling centers.
Quincy will have the Kennedy Center at 440 E Squantum St. open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, and the Thomas Crane Library branches will stay open on weekends. The main library at 140 Washington St. will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Weymouth will operate a cooling center out of the Tufts Library, 46 Broad St., through the weekend and has canceled its weekly farmers market.
Scituate will open its cooling center at the Scituate Council on Aging, 333 First Parish Road, from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday
For more community-specific information, visit the town or city website.
How do I protect my pets?
According to the Humane Society of the United States, “never leave your pets in a parked car,” guidance that also applies to children. Also, “watch the humidity, limit exercise … don’t rely on a fan, provide ample shade and water … (and) watch for signs of heat stroke,” among other measures. More details are available at humanesociety.org.
Where can I find more information, including about the dangers and symptoms of heat stroke, exhaustion and cramps, and what to do if they occur?
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat. In an emergency, call 911.
What is the long-term trend?
“Extreme summer heat is increasing in the United States. Climate projections indicate that extreme heat events will be more frequent and intense in coming decades,” according to the CDC.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Heat wave in Quincy: Advice for staying cool from experts