Wednesday is the summer solstice — the first official day of our hemisphere's hottest season — and it appears that Mother Nature wants to make sure we sit up, take notice and then turn on the air.
Weather experts say this week's extreme heat will be the .
Officials Urge Extra Caution
With possible record-high temperatures on the way, state officials are advising residents to be cautious during the season's first period of extreme heat.
“A few simple steps can greatly reduce heat related issues, especially for the elderly, the very young and people with respiratory ailments, who are more susceptible to the effects of high temperature,” said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Deputy Commissioner William P. Shea.
To locate the nearest local cooling center, residents are asked to phone the state's 2-1-1 information line.
Tips to Keep Cool
The department offers the following tips during extreme high temperatures:
- Slow down, and avoid strenuous activity.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
- Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your body.
- Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate sweat, which cools your body.
- Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
- Cover windows that get morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent
- Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
- Do not leave pets outside for extended periods. Make sure pets have plenty of drinking water.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors regularly.
Unhealthy Air Quality
In addition to extreme heat, the weather system is also expected to lead to unhealthy air quality along the Connecticut shoreline, including New Haven County.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection forecasts unhealthy air quality for "sensitive groups" on both Wednesday and Thursday due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone.
The warning means there is an increased likelihood of respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort in both children and adults who suffer from a respiratory disease, such as asthma.
Tips to Breathe Easier
When air pollution levels are unhealthy DEEP recommends:
- Conserving electricity by setting air conditioners to 78 degrees
- “Wait ‘til 8” to use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers
- Driving less by carpooling, vanpooling or using public transit
- Telecommuting if possible
- Refueling your vehicle after dusk and never idling a vehicle unnecessarily
For more information, visit the CTDEP air quality website.