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Summer to start with temps in 90s on LI today

A surfer in Long Beach. (April 16, 2012)

A surfer in Long Beach. (April 16, 2012) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Island is about to feel the heat.

Temperatures across the island are predicted to shoot up to about 90 Wednesday, the first day of summer. Thursday, the National Weather Service is calling for a record high of 95 degrees in Islip.

Whether the heat is good or bad depends on your perspective. In Seaford Tuesday, Ralph's Italian Ices owner Anthony Indelicato said he could hardly wait.

"The hotter the better," said Indelicato, 46, of Bellmore. "It can rain in November, when we close."

Across the street, the mood also was upbeat at Apple Air Conditioning and Heating, which has 10 trucks in the field doing 25 installations a week, vice president Stephanie Bisignano said.

"We're crammed," she said. "The phones are ringing."

Outdoor workers were less appreciative of the heat. Don Alberici of Middle Island, who installs awnings and signs for a Huntington company, said he'd be in the sun all day no matter how high the temperature.

"My boss doesn't care," Alberici, 42, said. "[I'll] just try to get through it."

The two days of heat stems from a warm front approaching from the southwest, according to Joe Pollina, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Upton. As it moves to the north, "that'll pump in the heat and humidity."

Wednesday, air coming off the Atlantic Ocean will keep the south shore slightly cooler than the rest of the Island, Pollina said. By Thursday, temperatures should be uniformly hot islandwide.

Long Island Power Authority spokesman Mark Gross said that he didn't anticipate any problems with capacity because of the heat.

"Right now, we don't see any issues," he said.

State officials issued an air quality warning for Wednesday, advising people to limit exercise and strenuous outdoor work from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The Town of Hempstead will open 15 cooling centers, and extend hours at six of its swimming pools Wednesday and Thursday.The hot weather also poses challenges for Belmont Park trainers, who said they'd try to keep their horses from becoming overheated or dehydrated.

Trainer Gary Contessa said he has several tricks, from administering a Gatorade-type electrolyte formula to rubbing horses down with isopropyl alcohol, which keeps them cool. The alcohol technique works on non-equines too.

"It's an amazing coolant," Contessa said. "Rubbing it on my arms and joints, and on my neck, on a real hot afternoon? No doubt about it -- I do that."

Tips to keep your cool

Place a cold compress or ice pack on your head or neck if you're working outside.

Wear lightweight, loosefitting clothes, and avoid dark colors, which absorb heat.

Sip water throughout the day; avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar.

Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day -- early morning and evening are the best times to be outside, when air quality is better and temperatures are cooler.

If you're home, stay on the lower levels because heat rises. If you don't have air-conditioning, open your windows and turn on a fan.

Source: Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, chief medical officer, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola

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