Temperatures to creep close to 100 during heat wave
Dan Blevins has made the 335-mile bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., with the Veterans Leadership Program since he started it three years ago.
He’s also done it on his own four additional times — but only once in the type of heat that is forecast for this weekend and beyond.
Forecasters expect at least a week of hot and humid days, with the heat index in the 90s.
Blevins is making sure the more than 120 riders slated to make the trip are properly prepared for the weather. They leave Saturday from Pittsburgh’s Station Square and plan to arrive in Washington by Wednesday.
“We have a lot of electrolytes, a lot of fruit and gummies,” said Blevins, 34, of Carnegie. “We just bring along a lot of nutrition on the trail, to make sure people have what they need to beat the potentially sweltering heat.
The group takes rest stops every 10 to 15 miles, have multiple air-conditioned vehicles where cyclists can take a cool break or even be shuttled to the next section of the ride if necessary.
“We also have medically trained staff on the ride who are able to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and treat it,” Blevins said. “We always plan for extreme heat, even though we haven’t had it the past three years.”
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh was close to declaring a heat advisory for this weekend.
“The heat is going to get uncomfortable,” said Mike Kennedy, a NWS meteorologist in Moon.
High humidity coupled with soaring temperatures in the lower 90s will add up to a heat index — what temperatures feel like — in the upper 90s starting Sunday, according to Kennedy.
The heat starts to build today and will hang around into next weak. pic.twitter.com/hw6RR8kWv7
— NWS Pittsburgh (@NWSPittsburgh) June 29, 2018
The region on Friday was under an air-quality alert for unhealthy ozon e, which was expected to last into the weekend. Young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems are urged to limit their time outdoors.
Several Allegheny County agencies urged people to prepare for the heat wave to avoid problems.
Allegheny County Emergency Services advised people to stock up on food, water and medicines; check with their doctor to determine if changes are needed to medicines during extreme heat; store medicines safely at the recommended temperature; and look at ways they can make their homes cooler.
Power failures are possible during heat waves, so people should keep their phones charged and stock up on batteries and things that do not require refrigeration.
People should also be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, officials said.
Heat cramps and heat exhaustion can result in muscle pains or spasms, heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache or fainting. Anyone experiencing those symptoms should go to a cooler location, loosen or remove clothing, takes sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar, and get medical help if the symptoms last more than an hour.
A more serious condition, heat stroke, requires immediate medical attention. Signs of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees taken orally); red, hot and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness. If seeing these symptoms, people should act fast to seek medical help by calling 911 and do whatever is necessary to cool down until help arrives.
Children and pets should never be left alone in hot vehicles.
The City of Pittsburgh is also offering ways to beat the heat at city pools, which are open from 1 to 5:45 p.m. Spray parks are also open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weather permitting.
A list of pools and spray parks is available online.
These Citiparks sites will serve as cooling centers:
• Southside Market House, 12th St. & 1 Bedford Square, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
• Brookline Recreation Center, 1400 Oakridge St., 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Officials advise people to keep hydrated, spend time in air conditioned places and stay out of the sun, especially during the hottest part of the days; use sunscreen; wear light-colored clothing; eat smaller, colder meals; and avoid strenuous activity.
The county Department of Human Services also reminds residents age 60 and older that they can visit any of the county-funded senior centers during regular hours of operation to socialize and enjoy activities while taking refuge from the heat. A list of all Allegheny County senior centers can be found online .
People also need to be mindful of their pets when it’s warm outside, and those who don’t are breaking city and state laws, according to the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department.
Pet owners are not permitted to leave dogs outside for more than 30 minutes when the temperature is above 90 degrees, according to a Pittsburgh ordinance and state law, the department said in a news release.
Further, if police officers find an animal inside a hot car and the animal is believed to be in distress, officers will remove the animal for its own safety and protection. People who leave their pets outside for long periods of time and in hot vehicles will be charged with cruelty to animals, city officials said.
If people see a dog in a hot car they should call 911 immediately because even a few minutes in a hot car can be lethal, according to the department.
Kennedy says the weather service could issue a heat advisory for Monday or Tuesday as the index could top 100 degrees.
The advisory can trigger actions such as the regulation of power and changing outdoor work requirements.
A ridge of high pressure is blanketing the Northeast and isn’t expected to go away anytime soon, according to Kennedy.
Temperatures will start to climb on Friday with highs in the upper 80s. Saturday’s heat index will rise from the low- to mid-90s. Come Sunday, the heat index will inch up to the upper-90s, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast for the region.
For Monday and Tuesday, the heat index could break 100 degrees.
High temperatures are forecasted to persist until at least Thursday.
Typical highs for the region this time of year are in the low 80-degree range, according to Kennedy.
Tribune-Review staff writer Tom Davidson contributed. Mary Ann Thomas and Patrick Varine are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Thomas at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib. Reach Varine at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.