Brace yourselves. (Adam Saul/Flickr)
Uh oh, it’s about to get very hot, so hot! Hot like if you lived inside a ghost pepper; hot like if you’re running on an endless stretch of scorching, sun-roasted sand without any water to soothe your blistering soles; hot enough that you may only be able to view the world through those wavy heat lines that make the heavy air look like it’s melting. We have a heat wave preparing to roll in and suffocate the city, wrenching up the temps with terrifying persistence until the heat index cracks 100 on Saturday.
According to the National Weather Service, an atmospheric situation that started out hot—maybe you also opened your front door to a wall of breath-like air this morning, sputtering that it wasn’t even 8 a.m. yet and what business does The Weather have, getting so fired up so early—and promises only to grow hotter. Today, we can count on temps peaking in the mid-to-high 80s, with a parallel heat index and climbing humidity. Tomorrow brings lows in the low 70s (but early in the morning, so many of you weatherheads will likely miss it), a high around 88, and humidity that crests at 66 percent. By Wednesday, that percentage will have climbed to a stifling 82 PERCENT, with the heat index clawing its way into the low 90s. After which it will stay maddeningly high for the next three days AT LEAST, making this a by-the-book heat wave, our first of sweat season. Bye bye!
Wednesday also introduces the potential for rain and thunderstorms, thanks to Tropical Storm Barry, which just hit Louisiana; that rain currently looks like it will hold all the way through Friday.
I imagine you will feel grateful for whatever showers are thrown your way during this time, because temps should hover mostly in the high 80s and low 90s during this stretch: The low on Thursday, for example, is a freakishly high 79 degrees, plus a punishing 86 percent humidity. The heat index could reach 102 degrees early Friday evening, and again around 4 p.m. on Saturday. Humidity might calm down somewhat as the weekend winds up, down to 42 percent (at the lowest projected level on Saturday afternoon). But for the next few days, you can count on feeling as if you were sealed inside a car in the middle of an unshaded parking lot, your skin fusing to the molten seats that have now trapped you in your metal box.
Or! You could spend your entire weekend literally in the dark, if another blackout like Saturday’s leaves sweaty citizens trapped in oven-like subway situations. Con Edison suspects that this might happen, due to the fact that the sweltering masses will do their damndest to create a kind of fridge vibe inside their homes, overstraining the power grid. “We expect that there could be service outages. Those things happen during heat waves,” Con Ed spokesman Mike Clendenin told Pix 11. “Our crews are ready to respond. We are going to be prepared for this. It’s going to be intense.”
Con Ed recommends using fans over AC units, which—while environmentally and energetically responsible—sounds comparable to trying to using an umbrella in a hurricane, in terms of efficacy. If you don’t own a pet, turn off your AC and unplug your appliances when you leave the house. (If you do have a pet, sorry but it’s kind to keep them cool when temps spike this high.) Clean your AC’s filter now to make it more efficient, and run it on the warmest temp you can bear. Also! Close your curtains and blinds and just draw yourself a nice ice bath, because it certainly doesn’t sound like we’re coming out of this before next week and there will be no mercy.
Heat waves like this one can be deadly, so please avail yourself of this public cooling center finder, check on your neighbors, and commit to memory all eight of these Mickey Rourke-backed tips to Beat The Heat.