UPDATE: The Excessive Heat Watches have been upgraded to Excessive Heat Warnings.
Grab the sunglasses and water bottles if you plan to be outdoors for the next few days, as a summer heat wave will impact Northeastern Pennsylvania through this weekend.
The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning primarily from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening when the heat index will reach its peak.
But, what exactly makes this heat wave more concerning than others?
Well to start, a heat wave is when three or more consecutive days have high temperatures at least 90 degrees or higher.
While yes, they are frequent in Pennsylvania, I wanted to see how this one relates to previous stretches of hot weather.
This is the first time since 2011 that many counties in Northeast PA have been under an Excessive Heat Warning.
Since 1986, this is the third time Luzerne County has been placed under a warning, with heat indices expected to reach greater than 105 degrees. Otherwise, we would be placed under a Heat Advisory.
As the temperatures climb on the thermometer, so will the dew points. As we head towards this heat wave, we will see them well above 70 degrees, which anything over 70 is when it starts to feel ‘tropical’ outside.
With the high humidity, it makes it harder for our bodies to cool off in the hot weather. More water molecules in the air limit the amount of evaporation from our bodies.
Chief Delaney of the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department says these types of weather events are extreme to people’s health.
“How extreme? Our ambulance service will go from call to call to call nonstop during these emergencies, and today is a perfect example, and it hasn’t really hit here yet,” said Delaney.
He mentions heat-related illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
“The most critical of the three of them is heat stroke… and heat stroke, you stop sweating. That’s a mechanism that keeps us cool,” Delaney stresses.
As for heat safety tips, he talks about some of the best ways to stay cool in the heat.
“Simply, by hydrating themselves, staying in air-conditioned rooms or seeking air-conditioned places, just stay out of the environment.”
Before I left, Delaney emphasized the words ‘prevention’ and ‘precaution’, especially when it comes to hot cars.
“Remember your children, remember your pets. Don’t leave them in the car at all. A couple of minutes can be a killer.”
The heat wave is expected to continue until Sunday, before temperatures drop back into the 80s next week.