Robert Moses State Park on July 7.

Robert Moses State Park on July 7. Credit: John Roca

Admission to state parks will be free on Thursday during this week's high heat, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday, as Long Island faces a combination of heat and humidity from a stifling weather system traveling across the country to the Northeast.

On Tuesday, temperatures across Long Island reached the mid-80s, with a 12-mph breeze, with the same high expected generally through Friday with increasing humidity. However, closer to New York City, in northern and western Nassau, those highs were expected to flirt with 90 degrees or more all week while eastern Long Island will see cooler temperatures. 

 “I encourage everyone to take advantage of free and early admission to our world class beaches, pools and other State Park sites to beat the heat as we expect record temperatures across the state,” Hochul said in a statement, adding that Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Hither Hills and Sunken Meadow parks will be open early for swimming. State park fees on Long Island are generally up to $10 for day parking during the peak beach season. 

High temperatures on Long Island will not be as hot as elsewhere in the region, where heat advisories are already in effect from a system that broke records nationwide. But experts at the National Weather Service say temperatures will still feel warmer due to the humidity, as measured by the heat index.

“While the actual temperatures are in the upper 80s [this week], the ‘feels like temperatures’ when we include that humidity factor, is going to feel a good 5 to 8 degrees warmer,” said Dave Radell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

On Wednesday, the heat index will feel like the upper 80s, and even low 90s in some places on the Island. 

Thursday’s heat index will feel like the low 90s across Long Island, reaching up to 95 degrees in some places.

Peaking on Friday, the heat index will feel like the low to mid-90s throughout the Island. Towns such as Riverhead and Islip will see heat index temperatures of 91 and 93 degrees.

Temperatures will gradually decrease by Saturday, with possible showers in the forecast and a heat index ranging from the mid- to upper 80s throughout Long Island.

Radell said these consecutively warm temperatures are not unprecedented on Long Island, but he urged residents to take precautions especially between noon and 6 p.m.

“Find some air conditioning or head to cooler places where you can limit your outdoor activity, and find ways to stay cool at night,” Radell said.

At night, people can experience a bit of relief as temperatures will reach the upper 60s to low 70s, but Radell said these hours will still be warm and humid.

The weather service emphasized people should practice heat safety throughout the upcoming days. This includes checking on the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning; limiting time outdoors; if working at outdoor job sites, staying hydrated and taking breaks in the shade as much as possible; and never leaving pets or kids unattended in vehicles.

PSEG, Long Island's primary electricity provider, said it's ready to handle the projected peak demand of electricity supply. 

Michael Sullivan, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of electric operations, said in a statement: “To provide customers with safe, reliable electric service, we have been upgrading equipment, carefully planning to provide sufficient electric capacity to meet peak demand, and positioning our personnel to respond effectively if needed.”

At a news conference on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority indicated that the Long Island Rail Road will be reducing train speed as needed during prolonged durations of hot weather. 

As the LIRR is vulnerable to the high heat, Jamie Torres-Springer, president of MTA construction and development, said the MTA will have maintenance crews on standby.

“For critical infrastructure, you got vulnerable track and power systems [exposed] to high heat,” Torres-Springer said. “Both railroads deploy heat patrols to ensure that track inspections are taking place; they have welding crews available, tank cars which are filled with water to spray down any parts of the right of way that may be prone to brush fires, and of course closely monitoring power systems.”

Towns across Long Island have been making cooling centers more accessible for residents throughout this week's increase in temperatures.

On Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., the Town of Oyster Bay has made its Ice Skating Center and its Hicksville Athletic Center available for residents to cool off.

The Town of Huntington will be opening three cooling centers and will provide cooling services. The Dix Hills Ice Rink (noon to 8 p.m.), the Town of Huntington Senior Center (open until 4 p.m.) and the Manor Park Field House (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.) are the three cooling centers that will be open throughout the week in Huntington.

Huntington will also have its beaches open, with lifeguards stationed until 8 p.m. The Dix Hills pool is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and spray parks are open to help adults and children cool off.

The Town of Hempstead will be extending its beach and pool hours along with opening eight cooling centers on Wednesday through Friday. Beach hours will be extended to 7 p.m. with pool hours being to 8 p.m.

Cooling centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Hempstead Town: Baldwin Senior Center, Bellmore Senior Center, Elmont Senior Center, Franklin Square Senior Center, Levittown Senior Center, Oceanside Senior Center, Roosevelt Senior Center, and Salisbury Senior Center.

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