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Heat wave descends on the US

Record heat wave threatens 85 percent of US
01:42

What we covered here

  • Heat wave: Over the next few days, more than 85% of the lower 48’s population will see temperatures above 90 degrees. More than half will see temperatures higher than 95 degrees.
  • Track the heat: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington will be under excessive heat warnings on Friday. You can track the heat wave here.
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What you need to know about the heat wave

A dangerous heat wave began descending on the US Friday, and the extreme heat is expected to continue this weekend.

Our live coverage has ended, but you can keep tracking the heat wave here.

Here’s what you need to know about the heat:

  • It’s widespread: Over the next few days, more than 85% of the lower 48’s population will see temperatures above 90 degrees, and more than half will see temperatures higher than 95 degrees. About 195 million people were under a heat watch, warning or advisory Friday morning.
  • The East Coast and Midwest are feeling the heat: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington will be under excessive heat warnings on Friday. Major cities across the Midwest — including Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and St. Louis — are under similar warnings
  • Events are canceled: With extreme temperatures through Sunday, the Verizon New York City Triathlon has been canceled. Also canceled in the region: Saturday’s card of horse racing at New York’s Saratoga Race Course, and all races Saturday and Sunday at the Maryland Jockey Club in Laurel — where the heat index will reach 110 to 115.

Illinois zoo animals cool off with meat and vegetable popsicles

Animals at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois are staying cool with some frozen treats.

The zoo’s staff has been giving several animals –– including polar bears, grizzly bears, tigers, sloth bears and even the rhino –– ice to help them keep cool in the extreme heat, the zoo said in a release Friday.

So what’s inside the animals’ popsicles? The zoo said what was inside the ice depended on the animal: Some were filled with fruits and vegetables while others had bones and meat. The blocks of ice that the polar and grizzly bears received weighed 300-pounds.

NYC festival featuring Megan Rapinoe and John Legend canceled because of heat

Megan Rapinoe was scheduled to appear at OZY Fest

The New York City festival OZY Fest has been cancelled due to heat, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday afternoon. 

The cultural festival, now in its fourth year, was scheduled to feature…

  • John Legend
  • Trevor Noah
  • Megan Rapinoe
  • Padma Lakshmi
  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Spike Lee
  • Mark Cuban

Fifty performers were scheduled for the festival in Central Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Chicagoland trains will run slower because the heat may buckle rails

It’s going to be so hot in the Chicagoland area that the regional rail service Metra is going to have to slow trains down.

“When temperatures exceed 95 degrees, Metra is required to reduce train speed by 10 mph,” Metra said in a tweet.

That allows them to compensate for what it says is, “heat related stress on the tracks.”

Chief of NY Utility Con Edison: heat wave has “no impact at all” in the infrastructure that was damaged in blackout

The sun sets behind 42nd Street in Manhattan during a power outage in New York City on July 13, 2019.

New York Utility company Con Edison President Tim Cawley said Friday at a press conference that the heat wave has “no impact at all” in the infrastructure that was damaged in last weekend’s blackout that saw 73,000 customers without power. Cawley said that the equipment involved in that event has been repaired and that the company prepares for periods of intense heat throughout the year.

His comments come after Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered office buildings 100 feet or taller to set their thermostats to 78 degrees to conserve energy, and is asking New Yorkers to do the same in their homes to avoid power disruptions throughout the weekend.

Cawley said that the mayor’s call for conserving energy is good for three reasons: “it’s good for the environment, it lowers bills, and in a period like this, it just takes a little bit of the edge off the demand on the system.”

He added that New York’s peak energy consumption happens on weekdays and that while power demand is still high on weekends, the grid can handle that amount.

“We’re ready for what the heat will bring, and as I said, we expect demands this weekend to rival all-time weekend peaks,” Cawley said. “The system overall peaks during the weekday, and I think it’s fairly intuitive, when all the businesses are in, on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the demand is the highest, on the weekend it remains high, but it’s not the peak demand. When we compare weekend to weekend, we are going to rival all-time demand.”

Cawley said Con Edison is “poised to respond” to any outages that might happen this weekend. The demand on the system this weekend is projected to be between 11500 to 11900 megawatts. One megawatt, Cawley explained, powers about one thousand homes, and the system is designed to handle 13200 megawatts of demand. 

When comparing to previous weekends of similar usage, and Cawley said that there were scattered outages despite the system’s performance being “very strong.”

How to keep your pets safe in this weekend's extreme heat

About 185 million people across the US are under a heat watch, warning or advisory as of Friday morning –– and forecasts say it’s only going to get hotter.

This means it’s important to make sure your furry, four-legged friend doesn’t overheat.

Here are some tips from the ASPCA on how to keep your pets cool:

  • Make sure they get plenty of fresh, clean water all day. They can get dehydrated quickly when it’s hot or humid out.
  • Be sure your pet has a shady place to go or keep them indoors.
  • Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. Keep them, along with pets that are elderly, overweight or have a heart or lung disease, in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car.
  • You can trim longer hairs, but never shave your dog. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn, according to the ASPCA.
  • If you put sunscreen on your pet, make sure it specifically says it’s for animals.
  • Don’t let your dog be on hot asphalt for long. Their body can heat up quickly because they are so close to the ground. The pads on their paws can also burn if the pavement has been in the sun.

Another important aspect to keeping your pet safe in extreme heat is knowing the signs of heat stroke.

The Humane Society of the United States tweeted some of the signs to watch for:

  • Heavy panting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse salivation
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

Read the tweet:

Officials want you to conserve energy during the heat wave. Here's why.

Officials are urging people to conserve energy during this weekend’s heat wave.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the heat emergency declared Thursday, and calls for energy rationing this weekend, are out of an “abundance of caution.”

The mayor signed an executive order directing office buildings 100 feet or taller to set their thermostats to 78 degrees to conserve energy, and is asking New Yorkers to do the same in their homes.

Speaking with host Brian Lehrer on radio station WNYC, de Blasio said utility company Con Edison has not given him “good enough answers” on the reason for New York’s power outage last weekend, but told him overload was not it. He said the company told him an overload is not predicted for this weekend, but residents should cut back just to be sure.

The president of Con Edison in New York, Tim Cawley, agreed with the importance of conserving energy.

“Its always a good thing to do but it’s particularly good in this period because it reduces some of the demand on the system, customers will save money and it’s good for the environment,” Cawley said at a news conference Friday.

It’s not just New York: About 185 million people are under a heat watch, warning or advisory as of Friday morning.

The heat warnings cover a large swath of the Midwest, including Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and Omaha, as well as parts of the East Coast, including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC.

Here’s how to maximize your energy efficiency, according to National Grid:

  • Close the blinds and drapes to prevent the sun from making your home too hot.
  • Turn off lights and ceiling fans when you aren’t home or not using them.
  • Set your air conditioner up a few degrees –– even a small amount makes a big difference. For example, a 75-degree setting will cost about 18 percent more than a 78 degree setting.
  • Unplug electronics like televisions and computers. Even though they are turned off, they are still drawing electricity.
  • Try not to use hot water appliances like dish washers or washing machines.
  • Temporarily switch off pool pumps.

NYC Fire: Don't open fire hydrants yourself

PA woman dries off after cooling down in the spray of a fire hydrant in 2018 in Philadelphia

The New York City Fire Department has a warning for anyone who wants to cool off with a fire hydrant: Don’t do it yourself.

City residents can request a spray cap be installed on their neighborhood hydrants.

“Do not open fire hydrants yourself as it depletes water sources and water pressure, making it difficult for firefighters to fight fires,” a New York City firefighter Sophy Medina explained in a Twitter video.

Heat index is more important than just temperature. Here's why.

The forecasted temperatures during this weekend’s heat wave will only tell part of the story –– it’s going to feel a lot hotter.

Over the next few days, more than 85% of the lower 48’s population will see temperatures above 90°F, according to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen, and more than half will see temperatures in excess of 95°F.

But what is more important is the heat index.

What is a heat index: It is also called “apparent temperature.” It’s a combination of air temperature and humidity, and it measures what the body actually feels, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

Brink said we should pay attention to heat index because of the way humans cool down.

“We cool down by sweating, and that sweat evaporates off of our bodies, in turn decreasing our body temperature,” she said. “When it is really humid outside, the rate of sweating decreases, so it actually feels warmer outside than it is.”

For example, in Chicago — with a predicted temperature Friday of 98 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of 58% — can expect it to feel like 118 degrees, she said.

The heat index can get even higher when you consider what it feels like in the sun. These numbers on this chart are calculated in the shade, Brink said.

In “direct sunlight, the heat index value can be increased by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to the National Weather Service.

Brink said the best way to stay safe in the heat is to drink lots of water, wear lightweight, light-colored clothes and to stay near an air-conditioner.

New York governor on utility company: "Am I confident that they will fully perform? No."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked this morning if he has confidence in New York utility company Con Edison ahead of the expected heat wave after the blackout last weekend in New York City.

“Am I confident? No,” Cuomo told Long Island News Radio’s Jay Oliver, with laughter.

“Am I all over Con Ed, am I doing everything I can, yes…and do I have people monitoring Con Ed, and do I have an alert system where if there’s a problem I will be on it in eleven seconds – yes.”

Cuomo added that he’s “disappointed in the number of instances” where Con Ed “have not been responsive.”

“The blackout on the West Side of Manhattan was frightening. It was frightening — chaos could have ensued – mayhem could have ensued,” he said.

Some more context: Last weekend, tens of thousands of people lost power in New York City. The outage started Saturday at 6:47 p.m., and the lights were back on shortly after midnight, officials said. It mostly affected midtown Manhattan and parts of the Upper West Side. No injuries or hospitalizations were reported.

At the height of the outage, 72,000 customers were in the dark, Con Ed said.

Con Ed blamed their relay protection system for the weekend power outage, saying the system didn’t operate as designed, according to preliminary findings from the company.

Both Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have called for a full investigation.

These are the signs for heat-related illnesses

It’s going to be very hot over the next couple of days. That means heat-related illnesses are going to be even more likely.

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control says are indicators for heat-related illnesses — and what to do if you have them.

It was so hot in Omaha, the National Weather Service baked biscuits in a car

It was hot in Omaha, Nebraska, yesterday. Very hot.

The city hit a high temperature of 97 degrees with a sweltering 109 degree heat index on Thursday.

So the National Weather Service station in Omaha decided to try to bake biscuits in a car sitting in a parking lot.

The pan of biscuits was sitting in the car, in direct sunlight, for just 60 minutes when it hit 175 degrees.

In all, it took eight hours for the biscuits to get crispy, although the Omaha-based meteorologists said the middles were still a little uncooked.

It’ll be even hotter in Omaha today: The temperature is set to hit 106 degrees and the heat index should hit a boiling 116 degrees.

It's dangerously hot today. Here's how you can stay safe

About 185 million people across the US are under a heat watch, warning or advisory as of Friday morning –– and forecasts say it’s only going to get hotter.

Over the next few days, more than 85% of the lower 48’s population will see temperatures above 90°F (32.2°C), according to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen, and more than half will see temperatures in excess of 95°F (35°C).

Two of the most important ways to stay safe in extreme heat is by staying cool, and staying hydrated, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Here’s how the CDC says you can protect yourself during extreme heat.

Be aware: These groups of people are more at risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat stress and heat stroke:

  • Elderly adults over 65
  • Young children under four
  • People with existing medical conditions
  • People without air-conditioning

Stay cool:

  • Find somewhere to go with air-conditioning –– don’t just rely on a fan. If you don’t have air-conditioning in your house, go to a public place such as a library or mall.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and limit times outdoors
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes
  • Take cool showers or baths

Stay hydrated:

  • Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate
  • Avoid alcohol or drinks with a lot of sugar
  • Remind others to drink lots of water

It's going to be so hot roads could buckle and blow out

The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning motorists to be wary of roads buckling in the extreme heat.

“Pavement failures or blowouts occur when prolonged high temperatures cause the road to expand and buckle up or blow out, resulting in uneven driving surfaces,” the Department said in a press release on their website.

The likelihood for buckling is increased even more by rain and humidity.

Buckled roads have already been seen in Kansas. The Hays Police Department posted a photo of a heat-buckled road on Tuesday.

For more on how, and why pavement buckles, watch IDOT’s educational video below.

Horse race tracks are cancelling races

Ellis Park in Evansville, Indiana was forced to cancel their races for Friday.

They join New York’s Saratoga Race Course and the Maryland Jockey Club in Laurel. Those tracks have canceled all their races on Saturday and Sunday

It's so hot that a speedway in Michigan cancelled their races

The heat index in Michigan is going to be so hot that the I-96 Speedway cancelled their races for Friday and Saturday.

“Conditions would be miserable and dangerous not only for fans but also for the teams and drivers,” the speedway said in a Facebook post.

Here are the areas under excessive heat watches today

About 185 million people are under a heat watch, warning or advisory as of Friday morning.

The heat warnings cover a large swath of the Midwest, including Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and Omaha, as well as parts of the East Coast, including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, the watches are centered around coastal South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, as well as parts of New Hampshire.

Here’s a look at all of the advisories, watches and warnings:

Here's what you need to know to stay safe in extreme heat

Extreme temperatures are the most deadly weather events in the United States, consistently killing more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

As a potentially record-breaking heat wave grips the nation this weekend, doctors are warning people to find air conditioning and stay cool.

While dehydration is a common concern, “the most worrisome consequence” of high heat is heat stroke, said Dr. Scott Dresden, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University. Heat stroke can cause confusion, seizures and even death, he said.

How you can get heat stroke: Heat illness occurs when someone’s body temperature rises above 104°F (40°C). Usually, we cool ourselves off by sweating and widening our blood vessels, bringing heat to the surface of our skin and letting it dissipate.

But sweating becomes ineffective as humidity rises above 75%. Our bodies can only let off heat when the outside environment is cooler than our internal body temperature of 98.6°F.

What the symptoms look like: The first symptoms are cramping and dizziness, but as the heat continues, it could cause someone to pass out or collapse. Left untreated, extreme heat stroke can trigger a dangerously fast heart rate and cause bodily enzymes to stop functioning. Ultimately, multi-organ system failure and death can occur.

How to treat it: The easiest way to treat mild symptoms is to drink a lot of fluids and get out of the heat. As symptoms get more serious, Dresden said, “we typically use ice baths in our emergency department.” Wet sheets and large fans are also used in the hospital to cool patients, especially if ice baths aren’t available. 

That can rapidly cool someone’s body temperature, but patients are sometimes treated before they even arrive at the hospital. “Our Chicago fire department will often pack a patient’s neck, armpits and groin in ice packs” to target major blood vessels,” Dresden said.

Here are some more tips for how to stay safe in the heat:

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest forecast. Because extreme heat is predictable, it’s important to keep up with the conditions.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • If you know someone is living alone, especially elderly people, reach out to them and make sure they are in safe conditions.
  • Adjust your schedule to avoid physical activity outside during the temperature peaks of the day.

New York City has declared a local emergency over the heat

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared “a local emergency due to the extreme heat” in New York City.

The executive order covers 9 a.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, and the mayor is ordering buildings 100 feet or taller to raise thermostats to 78 degrees in an effort to conserve energy.

“We are about to enter a heat emergency, and must do all we can to keep New Yorkers safe,” said de Blasio. “The city government is limiting its energy use to reduce strain on the electrical grid, and now private office buildings will also have to do their part.”

GO DEEPER

More than 185 million people are under watches and warnings as the heat wave begins to reach peak temperatures
How heat waves can kill -- and how to stay safe
Worldwide, June 2019 was the hottest June ever, according to more than a century of weather records
How to stay safe in this week's heat wave
How your health is at risk during a heatwave

GO DEEPER

More than 185 million people are under watches and warnings as the heat wave begins to reach peak temperatures
How heat waves can kill -- and how to stay safe
Worldwide, June 2019 was the hottest June ever, according to more than a century of weather records
How to stay safe in this week's heat wave
How your health is at risk during a heatwave