Region, nation to sizzle in latest heat wave

NOAA
The Associated Press
Posted July 21, 2011, at 6:39 a.m.

Northern New England is in for a heat wave, and federal authorities say the air will be unhealthy in southwestern New Hampshire and southern coastal Maine.

With temperatures expected in the mid to upper 90s in parts of northern New England, health officials are reminding people to take it easy and stay out of the sun to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Vermont Health Commissioner Harry Chen recommends avoiding strenuous activity and drinking plenty of water.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services says it’s working with regional and state partners to reach out to vulnerable populations, or people who may not realize they are at risk during extreme heat, such as seniors, children, and people with medical conditions.

The forecast calls for high humidity and temperatures in the 90s in parts of Maine, Vermont and NewHampshire on Thursday and Friday.

EPA Administrator Curt Spalding said the heat contributes to elevated ozone levels that can cause serious breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other lung diseases.

The EPA is asking employers to try to reduce electricity consumption by letting employees dress casually so air conditioners can be set to higher temperatures. Unnecessary lights and computers also should be turned off. Homeowners also should minimize the use of appliances, particularly during the day when power demands are highest.

The EPA also is urging people to reduce the use of gasoline powered engines which produce ozone.

The rest of the nation is feeling the heat, too. Nearly all of New Jersey is under an excessive heat warning through Saturday evening as a large dome of high pressure brings stifling heat and humidity to the region.

Forecasters say a sea breeze might provide some relief at the beaches.

The National Weather Service says the heat and humidity will combine to make it feel like 105 degrees Thursday and as hot as 110 degrees on Friday and Saturday.

Parts of the Upper Midwest are suffering through the worst heat wave in more than a decade, leaving residents who usually eagerly await a too-short summer longing for a taste of December. The heat index topped 119 degrees Tuesday in Minneapolis. And it felt like 105 degrees in Madison, Wis.

Even at the Minnesota Zoo, known for displaying northern-latitude animals, workers say the heat can make some animals — like people — “really crabby.” But they’re keeping thick-furred tigers happy with “bloodsicles.”

“It’s kind of gross, but they like it,” said Diana Weinhardt, who supervises the Northern Trails exhibit. She spent 15 years at the zoo in Houston, and admitted the heat was even rough on her.

“This is very, very Texas-esque weather and it’s hard, especially if you’re not used to it. In Texas we all kind of grew hardened to it, but here — ugh.”

In Minneapolis, some employees of The Olsen Fish Company — which bills itself as the world’s largest producer of the Scandinavian delicacy lutefisk — have refused to go outside on break. Instead, they’re hanging out in the 44-degree room where pickled herring is processed, company president Chris Dorff said.

When they do venture outside, they get plenty of space on the commuter train home because “when you work in a herring and lutefisk facility, you have this, this odor,” Dorff said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/21/news/state/region-nation-to-sizzle-in-latest-heat-wave/ printed on August 21, 2014