As Northeast Heat Records Fall, Some City Dwellers Leave!
It’s not exactly flowing with milk and honey — just ask the area’s struggling black bears — but Promised Land offered respite Sunday for city folks in the Northeast trying to escape a nearly weeklong hot spell that only threatened to intensify.
Those who could go to pools, beaches, and higher places like Promised Land State Park in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, which is 1,800 feet (550 meters) high and about 2 1/2 hours by car from New York City and Philadelphia.
The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings or heat advisories for more than 85 million Americans. This included people in the Pacific Northwest, the southern Great Plains, and the heavily populated area along Interstate 95. The agency said that from Washington to Boston, the weather would be “extremely oppressive.”
Even in Promised Land, temperatures were forecast to soar above 90 (32 Celsius), but with shade from the forests, cool lake water, and mountain breezes, it was more than tolerable, visitors said.
Rosa Chavez, who teaches high school in Manhattan and is 47 years old, put sunscreen on a beach on Promised Land Lake. She was on vacation in Florence, Italy, with her friend Arlene Rodriguez last week. While they were there, Europe had its heat wave.
“The heat is following us,” said Rodriguez, 47, a real estate agent and property manager.
Numerous record highs were expected to be tied or broken in the Northeast, the weather service said.
On Sunday, it was already 99 degrees (37 Celsius) in Philadelphia before the humidity was considered. Five days in a row, the temperature in Newark, New Jersey, was 100 degrees or higher. This is the longest stretch since records began in 1931. Boston also reached 100 degrees, which was higher than the previous daily record of 98 degrees, which was set in 1933.
At least two people have died in the Northeast because of the heat, and officials warn that there could be more.
The heat emergency in Philadelphia has been extended until Monday evening. This means that workers will check on homeless people and knock on the doors of other vulnerable residents. The city also set up cooling centers and put air-conditioned buses at four intersections so that people could get some relief from the heat.
Forecasters told people to wear light clothes, drink lots of water, spend less time outside, and keep an eye on pets and older people.
The mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu, called a heat emergency until Monday and kept a dozen places to cool off open.
Sports events were cut short or moved to a later date. The distances that people had to run and bike in the New York City Triathlon were cut. This weekend’s Boston Triathlon has been moved to August 20 and 21.
On the West Coast, forecasters warned of extreme heat arriving early this week and lingering until the weekend. Temperatures could break daily records in Seattle, Portland, and Northern California by Tuesday and climb to the highest level since a heat wave last year that killed hundreds of people across the Pacific Northwest.
Many homes in the area, which gets a lot of rain, don’t have air conditioning. Officials warned that as the week goes on, the heat inside will likely get worse, which will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses. Emergency medical workers in Boston also warned of this.
Back in Promised Land, Chavez said she has asthma and needs to keep her inhaler around, especially “when the heat is so thick I can’t breathe.” The breezes and clearer air in the mountains help, she said.
At noon, Mhamed Moussa Boudjelthia, a 31-year-old Uber driver from Queens, turned on a grill at the beach to make kebabs. It was already over 80 degrees. He and another friend from Queens had left the city for the day because it was too hot and chaotic.
“There, it’s really hot,” Boudjelthia said. “There’s too much humidity, too.”
“It’s crazy in New York City,” said his 35-year-old friend Kamel Mahout, who was standing in a cool breeze.
Even at lower elevations and less than an hour away, the heat was making people weak. On Sunday, the high temperature in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was expected to be 97, and it would not drop below 70 at night.