First Alert Weather

Oppressive Heat Wave Grips Region; Here Are Tips to Stay Cool

There's a chance feels-like temperatures could peak near 110 degrees in some urban neighborhoods. A First Alert is in effect through Friday because of the miserable heat wave

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What to Know

  • A dangerous heat that will be feeling like the triple digits has hold of the Philadelphia region.
  • A First Alert for oppressive heat is in effect until Friday for inland neighborhoods.
  • Be sure to take breaks from being outside and drink plenty of water to stay safe as temps feel up to 105 degrees or warmer.

A dangerous heat wave is enveloping the Philadelphia area in broiling heat and oppressive humidity.

This heat wave has the potential to be the worst of the summer season in its duration and intensity. Sweltering hot air is pushing feels-like temperatures – or heat indexes – to 100 to 105 degrees or more through Friday. Some urban neighborhoods could get feels-like temps up to around 110 degrees Friday.

That's why the NBC10 First Alert Weather Team issued a First Alert so you can prepare yourself, your family and pets for the extreme heat.

Through Friday will be the toughest days to endure. Friday, temperatures climb into the upper 90s with feels-like temperatures that could top out well above 100 degrees. The projected high of 98 on Thursday is the hottest in more than two years. This could be the hottest stretch of back-to-back days of the entire summer.

It's not just the daytime temperatures that have us concerned.

Overnight lows are only forecasted to fall to around 80 degrees in urban areas like Philadelphia, Camden, Trenton, and Wilmington. Steamy, warm nights without air conditioning lead to tough sleeping conditions and additional stress on the body. Heat waves tend to be more dangerous the longer they last because extreme heat has a cumulative effect on the body as it tries to keep you cool.

Everyone in our region is feeling the heat during this week's dangerously high temperatures and humidity. But some neighborhoods are especially vulnerable. NBC10's Tim Furlong speaks to residents of a Philadelphia "heat island."

This will be dangerous heat – even for healthy people – if proper precautions aren't taken. Here are a few tips for all of us to heed:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Wear light weight and light colored clothing
  • Take breaks in air conditioning, if you can, or at least in shaded, fanned areas
  • Take cool showers
  • Keep windows open if you do not have air conditioning
  • Check in on family, friends, elderly, and your pets to make sure they're staying cool and properly hydrated

If you do have AC, you can save money on your energy bill by setting your thermostat to 78, making sure windows and doors are caulked and closing the blinds during the day.

Dave Schrader of NRG has a money-saving tip for these oppressively hot days and it involves your thermostat. Also, be sure that your HVAC unit is running efficiently. And, closing the blinds can also save money on your energy bill.

Philadelphia launched a heat health emergency on Wednesday.

“This could be the hottest week of the summer, so it’s especially important for folks to try to get their loved ones – especially our elderly neighbors and family members – into air conditioning during the hottest part of the day," Philadelphia's Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said. "This could mean using the air in your home, your car, a business, or one of the City’s cooling centers, being careful to follow COVID-19 precautions. If you’re worried about someone’s health during the emergency, you can call the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s Heatline at 215-765-9040.”

This map shows you where to find a cooling center or sprayground in Philadelphia.

If you’re looking for substantial relief, head to the Jersey Shore or Delaware beaches. Ocean water temperatures are projected to hover around the lower to middle 70s and a gusty sea-breeze will develop. This breeze will act as a barrier keeping the hottest air west of the Garden State Parkway. The warmest the beaches will get is the middle 80s this week – providing not only delightful beach weather, but also a solution to avoiding the dangerous heat inland. 

Isolated, strong thunderstorms are possible any afternoon or evening this week -- like what happened Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but most places will not see one.

The dangerous heat eases Saturday with rounds of showers and strong thunderstorms. But, the true relief from the tropical humidity and warmth arrives Saturday night into Sunday as cooler, refreshing Canadian air arrives.

This heat wave, which began Monday, is Philadelphia's fifth of the season. The first heat wave began on June 5 and lasted three days in total. Since then we’ve had three more heat waves: another in June and two in July.

To all of those already sick of this summer’s repetitive wheel of steamy heat and severe storms, the official start of fall is only a month and a half away. We welcome in the new season Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 at 3:21 p.m.

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