In anticipation of the first heat wave of the summer, Nassau County officials on Tuesday opened four cooling centers and urged residents to take precautions as temperatures are expected to soar above 90 degrees, starting Friday and lasting through the weekend.
The combination of heat and humidity can be not only unbearable and uncomfortable, it can be dangerous for children, seniors and those with chronic medical conditions, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said at a news conference Tuesday at Cantiague Park in Hicksville.
Curran and other officials advised residents to limit outdoor activities and to beat the heat by going to air-conditioned places, such as museums, malls or one of Nassau's more than 50 public libraries.
“Check on neighbors who may be at risk and limit time outdoors and strenuous activity to ensure that you and your family remain safe and healthy during this stretch of extreme heat,” said Curran.
It was unclear Tuesday whether Suffolk authorities also plan to open cooling centers.
Highs Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be in the range of 85 to 90 degrees, said Rich Hoffman, News 12 Long Island meteorologist, and the National Weather Service warned that showers may accompany that warmth.
Meteorologists said there's a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3 p.m. Wednesday, with the threat of gusty winds and heavy rain. More of the same is forecast for the evening and an even higher chance of rain and thunder — 50 percent — all day and night on Thursday.
Starting Friday, the temperature rises, Hoffman said. The highs for Friday through Sunday could reach the low 90s, but Hoffman said the predicted high humidity would make it feel close to 100 to 105 degrees during those three days.
The heat is expected to peak on Saturday when high temperature could reach 98 degrees, Hoffman said. Temperatures should start to cool by Monday or Tuesday.
A heat wave occurs when the temperature reaches at least 90 degrees for three consecutive days, according to the National Weather Service. It's been nearly two years since a heat wave was recorded at Long Island MacArthur Airport. The last one was July 20-22 in 2017, according to the weather service.
Long Islanders said Tuesday they will figure out a way to cope.
Teddy Bolkas, 43, owner of Thera Farms in Brentwood, said the work won’t stop this weekend regardless of the heat. His farmers market will be open.
“I make sure I have plenty of water, plenty of Gatorade, I got our ice machine fired up,” Bolkas said. “We take plenty of breaks. Plenty of umbrellas and shade. Run through the sprinklers, whatever you gotta do.
“Heat waves come and go, but work’s gotta get done.”
Rebecca Fle, 25, of Freeport, said she will be prepared on Friday, the presumed first day of the forecast heat wave.
Fle, a teacher’s assistant, usually waits 15 to 20 minutes at the bus stop, where she waited Tuesday for a ride to her job in Roosevelt. “I might get sunscreen, some water to cool down, probably an umbrella for some shade,” Fle said.
“It’s a headache,” she said of having to wait outside for the bus in the heat. “When you’re just standing in the sun, it makes it even more anxious.”
For the weekend, she plans to hit a public pool to cool off.
Eligio Jimenez, 50, of Wyandanch, is a landscaper originally from Honduras so he’s used to dealing with the heat.
“I’m staying under the tree,” Jimenez said Tuesday while working in Bay Shore. “You have to drink a lot of water, juice, something. I go through hot weather; my country is very hot, it will just be the same for me.”
A state parks official's advice? Head to the shore.
“We have the best beaches on Long Island. People should all be flocking to Robert Moses and Jones Beach and Sunken Meadow and further out” east, Erik Kulleseid, commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It’s a perfect weekend to be relaxing on the beach and at the pool facilities we provide.”
With Joan Gralla and Zachary R. Dowdy
Nassau cooling centers
Four cooling centers in Nassau County will be open from Tuesday through the weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
• Mitchel Field Complex — 1 Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Uniondale, 516-572-0400
• Wantagh Park Community Center — 1 King Rd., Wantagh, 516-571-7460
• Grant Park — 1625 Broadway, Hewlett, 516-571-7821
• Cantiague Park — 480 West John St., Hicksville, 516- 571-7058
The latest heat advisories and information are available at nassaucountyny.gov/oem. Residents can also call the 24-hour hotline at 516-573-0636.
Source: Nassau County Executive's Office
HEAT SAFETY TIPS
Stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible.
Cool down with repeated baths or showers.
Do not leave children or pets in a parked vehicle. Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up very quickly.
Wear light-colored, loosefitting clothes. Use umbrellas and hats when you are out in the sun.
Avoid falling asleep in a hot room.
Eat light but nutritious food.
Caffeine and alcohol will dehydrate the body. So drink more water, sports drinks and juice — the body needs fluid to keep cool.
Any outdoor activities should be done in the morning or in the evening to avoid overheating.
Check on relatives and friends, especially the elderly.