First Alert Weather

Heat emergency as 1st heat wave of 2024 takes grip on Philly. What to know

Expect highs in the 90s to last for days on end, really getting steamy over the weekend

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The weather is heating up with the first heat wave of 2024 becoming official just as summer arrived on Thursday, June 20.

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Philadelphia put a heat health emergency into effect at 8 a.m. on June 20 with temps expected to get steamy this weekend. The declaration means that city services can be geared to keeping vulnerable communities safe through Sunday.

Here is what to expect and tips for staying safe as temps remain hot into next week:

First heat wave of 2024 🌡️

The temp hit 91 on Thursday afternoon in Philadelphia, making the heat wave official. High temps must hit 90 degrees or higher for three straight days for a heat wave to be declared.

It was feeling like the mid-90s Thursday afternoon.

NBC10's Miguel Martinez-Valle asks people how they're staying cool during this heat health emergency and gives tips on what you can do ahead of the weekend to be safe in the sun.

Then changes come in a big way heading into the weekend as heat and humidity start to ramp up Friday before becoming sweltering Saturday and Sunday with feels-like temps topping triple digits this weekend. Temps could near records (or even break them) this weekend.

The current heat wave isn't stopping residents in our area from enjoying fun events this weekend. NBC10's Siobhan McGirl speaks to attendees at the Summer Solstice Music & Food Festival in Haddon Township, New Jersey, and shares tips on staying cool and safe. 

The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team issued a First Alert for sizzling heat through Sunday night for most of the region, with the exception of shore points. Building heat will have it feeling like 105 by the end of the weekend.

No big relief from highs in the 90s in the days to come.

The National Weather service issued a heat advisory through Saturday morning, when it transitions to an excessive heat watch through Sunday night.

Feels-like temps on Saturday will push near or past triple digits in many neighborhoods.

Map of Philadelphia region shows Saturday, June 22, feels-like temps.
Map of Philadelphia region shows Saturday, June 22, feels-like temps.

Sunday is then shaping up to be the steamiest day with brutal feels-like temps approaching 105 degrees. The high on Sunday in Philadelphia is expected to be 98, which would break a record that dates back decades.

The only places where you will get relief from the heat (besides being in an air-conditioned space) is at the Jersey Shore.

Isolated storms are possible later on Saturday and Sunday, but aren't expected to entirely break the heat.

Isolated stormy activity Saturday appears to be mainly north of the city. More widespread storm activity is possible Sunday, beginning in the afternoon and continuing into the evening.

A look at possible Sunday storm activity.
A look at possible Sunday storm activity.

Although the storm would certainly bring relief to the oppressive heat, they could also drop heavy rain and bring strong gusty winds.

The 90s are expected to continue well into the following week.

Graph show high temps for next several days.
90s stick around into next week.

Thankfully, there is a chance the heat wave could break in the middle of next week with temperatures slightly dipping below 90s.

There is an ongoing effort to keep everyone safe in the heat, especially children and seniors. NBC10's Leah Uko was there as many in Philadelphia attended several events despite the extreme heat.

Air quality worsens

Scorching temperatures are sticking around but that's not stopping Philadelphians from enjoying events throughout the city. NBC10's Aaron Baskerville reports with tips to stay cool. 

Much of the Philadelphia region is under a Code Orange air quality alert heading into the weekend.

Under a Code Orange, "Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects," Air Now says. "The general public is less likely to be affected."

Tips for dealing with heat, noticing signs of heat-related illness

Philadelphia officials explained why the extended heat can be so dangerous to older people and people with health conditions.

"The Health Department declares a Heat Health Emergency when the temperature gets high enough that vulnerable people – especially our elderly neighbors and family members – are at an increased risk of getting sick or dying from the heat,” Interim Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Frank Franklin said. “The best way to protect our loved ones is to make sure they can get into air conditioning during the hottest part of the day. As always, we encourage Philadelphians to check on elderly friends and neighbors to make sure they’re safe and don’t need assistance."

The expected heat wave may last for the entire week and could lead to dangerous health conditions with little relief offered. Be sure to limit time exerting yourself outside, especially during the hottest parts of the day. shares these heat tips:

  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car on a warm day.
  • If air conditioning is not available in your home go to a cooling center.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Use your oven less to help reduce the temperature in your home.
  • If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid high-energy activities or work outdoors during midday heat, if possible.
  • Check on family members, older adults and neighbors.
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Consider pet safety. If they are outside, make sure they have plenty of cool water and access to comfortable shade. Asphalt and dark pavement can be very hot on your pet’s feet.
As we are expecting feels-like temperatures to reach the triple digits, doctors and experts are providing tips for how kids and the elderly can stay safe during the heat wave. NBC10's Yukare Nakayama has those tips and more on how to stay cool and safe in the coming days.

Also, be aware of the signs of heat-related illnesses. A body temperature of 103 degrees or higher; red, hot and dry skin without sweat; a rapid, strong pulse; and dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness can all be signs of heat stroke.

Should you or a loved one have any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to the hospital immediately.

With summer here, it's important to know the dangers of high temperatures. Heat stroke can be dangerous. Here are some ways you can identify heat stroke and what you should do when you see some of its symptoms.

You can click this link from the National Weather Service for details on the signs of heat exhaustion, heat cramps and other heat-related illnesses.

In Camden County, New Jersey, a heat advisory is in effect.

“When temperatures rise to dangerous levels, remember to stay inside as much as possible, drink plenty of water, and contact a physician if you or a loved one is showing signs of heat stress,” Camden County Commissioner Virginia Betteridge, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, said.. “It is important that residents continue to check on vulnerable friends, family and neighbors to ensure that they are safe and able to stay cool.”

Places to cool off

In Philadelphia, cooling centers are open for seniors looking to beat the heat and city pools and spraygrounds are open for young folks looking to beat the heat.

Click here for a interactive map showing all the spots where people can cool off in Philadelphia during the heat wave. The Free Library of Philadelphia is also reminding people of several of its locations open to the public.

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On Tuesday, the city declared a Code Red Alert "until further notice." "If you see someone on the street who needs help call the outreach team at (215) 232-1984 or 911 for a medical emergency," the Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services posted on social media. "Visit for hot weather tips/info."

People looking for relief from the heat can also go to recreation centers and libraries far beyond just Philadelphia.

In Allentown, Lehigh County, the city is offering up pools at no cost to residents and opening up public buildings with air conditioning.

Stay ahead of whatever Mother Nature brings

Be sure to keep watching NBC10 News and have the most updated version of the NBC10 app downloaded to your device to get the latest weather forecasts and conditions in real-time.

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