“Not in our lifetime”: ‘Extreme’ heat will fade to ‘moderate’ over weekend

— Map from the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has a Heat Risk Tool that updates hourly to show the current heat risks. On Thursday afternoon, June 20, Albany County was magenta, which stands for “extreme.”

ALBANY COUNTY — It is hot and getting hotter. The heat wave that blasted the Midwest landed in Albany County on Tuesday and is expected to last with intensity through Thursday, tapering off to what the National Weather Services terms “moderate” over the weekend.

“We are going to be having an extreme heat event,” said Governor Kathy Hochul in a briefing on Monday. “This is not a natural hot weather stretch for us here in the state of New York, especially upstate. But we are going to be seeing temperatures at levels we have not seen in our lifetimes.”

“It’s a dangerous mix of high temperatures and extreme humidity causing ‘feels like’ temperatures of over 100 degrees,” the governor said.

Hochul also said that, while the state has experienced blizzards, flooding, and hurricanes, “Extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths. Over 1,200 people annually in New York and across this country lose their lives to extreme heat.”

Hochul said she has activated the National Guard to “assist wherever necessary, whether it’s helping stand up cooling centers, because especially outside of certain regions, there are many areas that do not have home air-conditioning.”

The state has opened its pools and parks early, she said, so people can cool off. On Tuesday, Hochul announced free admission to state parks on Wednesday and Thursday, including these in the Capital Region: Lake Taghkanic State Park, Grafton Lakes State Park, Moreau Lake State Park, and Thompson’s Lake Campground at Thacher State Park.

 Also the departments of Labor and Agriculture and Markets, Hochul said, “are focusing on their clientele, the workers and the people who work on farms to make sure that … they’re taken care of during this heat event. And again, making sure our hospitals and nursing homes have everything they need to manage this.”

Capital City Rescue Mission on South Pearl Street in Albany has geared up to provide ice water stations and an air-conditioned inside resting area for people on the street who need it.

At a briefing on Tuesday, Hochul said she was opening the state’s Emergency Operations Center, “a statewide hub to monitor conditions and share resources; this includes constant communication with our county leaders,” she said.

She also said 50 guardsmen were stationed in Syracuse and Albany “ready to assist and be deployed wherever they are needed.”

“Extreme weather is the new normal in our country,” said Hochul.


Heat advisory

The Albany County Executive’s Office put out a release on Monday, saying that the people most at risk are the elderly and those with high blood pressure.

Symptoms of heat illness include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fainting, the county release said. 

“Skin may be cool and moist,” the release said. “Pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.”

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory including Albany County from noon on Tuesday to 8 p.m on Thursday.

The advisory covers northwestern Connecticut, western Massachusetts, most of eastern New York, and southern Vermont.

The weather service has a Heat Risk Tool that updates hourly to show the current heat risks. On Monday evening, Albany County was colored orange, which stands for “moderate”: by Wednesday morning it was colored red, which is designated as “major.”

The service forecast is that the county will be labeled magenta for “extreme” on Thursday, then back to “major” on Friday before returning to “moderate” over the weekend.

The weather service says a heat advisory is issued when the heat index values range from 95 to 104 degrees and for “impacts” says, “Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses.”

For precautions, the weather service states: “Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

“Take extra precautions when outside. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing. Try to limit strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Take action when you see symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”


DOH advice

The state’s health department put out this more detailed advice:

— Get anyone suffering from heat illness to a cool place, have them remove extra clothes, and drink lots of water. If they don’t improve, call 9-1-1 or get them to the emergency room right away;

— Avoid strenuous activity and exercise during the hottest part of the day. Instead, limit these activities to the early morning hours or in the evening when the temperatures tend to be lower;

— Drink at least two to four glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine;

— Infants younger than six months should not be given water. On hot days, they can be breastfed more often, or given additional breast milk or formula in a bottle;

— Stay out of the sun and seek air-conditioned settings. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor of your home, keep the window shades or blinds closed to block the sun, or go to an indoor space with air-conditioning such as libraries, malls, supermarkets, or friends’ homes;

— Take a cool shower or bath using tepid water. Sudden temperature changes may make you feel dizzy or sick; and

— If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating of at least 15 and a hat to protect your face and head. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid direct sun on your body.



The New York Independent System Operator, a not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the bulk electricity grid, put out a release on Tuesday, saying it was prepared to meet anticipated electricity demand during the forecasted heatwave.

NYISO forecasted baseline peak demand of 27,900 megawatts on Tuesday, 28,050 megawatts on Wednesday, 28,900 megawatts on Thursday, and 28,200 megawatts on Friday. 

“NYISO operators are working closely with power producers, utility companies, and other grid operators in advance of the heatwave to assess the status of generating and transmission capacity,” the release said.

NYISO assessed 40,733 megawatts of power resources available to serve load across the state. If necessary, operators can dispatch up to 3,275 megawatts through emergency operating procedures to maintain reliability during this week’s heatwave, the release said.

“Based on current conditions, the NYISO forecasts that there will be an adequate supply of electricity to meet demand through the coming period of hot weather,” said Aaron Markham, NYISO’s vice president of operations  in the release.


More Regional News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.