The 4th of July holiday may fall in the middle of the week but the days leading up to Independence Day figure to be plenty hot all around New Jersey.
With temperatures expected to get close to 100 degrees the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is urging residents and visitors to the area to use caution whether they are at the beach or sitting by the pool. The heat is a risk especially for children, senior citizens and people with disabilities as well as pets.
The OEM is encouraging people to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and spend time in the shade to minimize the risk of becoming ill from the hot weather. "High temperatures and humid conditions have the possibility of making outdoor activities and non air-conditioned facilities extremely dangerous and uncomfortable," said Colonel Rick Fuentes of the New Jersey State Police.
Fuentes also serves as the director of the Office of Emergency Management. "Be mindful of the threats that heat waves pose such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and sometimes death. These threats can be minimized and eliminated if we practice heat-related precautions and guidelines.
Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd said the risks may be higher for the youngest and oldest of people, but everyone should be aware of the conditions. "When the weather turns extremely hot and humid, it's vital to drink plenty of fluids, spend time in cool places and reduce any physical activity," she said.
Commissioner O'Dowd also said during hot weather it is also important to check on elderly family members and neighbors to ensure their safety as well.
Col. Fuentes and Commissioner O'Dowd provided several suggestions to ensure the safety of everyone involved:
- Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible
- If you do go outside stay in the shade
- If your home is not air conditioned, spend at least two hours daily at an air conditioned mall, library or other public place
- Wear sunscreen outside, along with loose fitting light colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible
- Drink water regularly even if you are not thirsty. Limit alcohol, and sugary drinks which speeds dehydration
- Never leave children or pets alone in the car
- Avoid exertion during the hottest part of the day
- Take a cool shower or bath
- Be a good neighbor, check on elderly and people with disabilities in your community who may need assistance keeping cool
Residents are also encouraged to contact their local or county officials to find cooling stations to ensure their safety during the current heatwave.
Because the holiday falls on a weekday AAA expects traffic to be heavier than normal over the next few days. They are predicting close to 1.3 million New Jersey residents will travel at least 50 miles during the weekend which is four percent more than last year.
If you are one of the millions of people expected to take to the road this holiday weekend don't forget Patch has up to the minute traffic reports just by going here.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a heat advisory which will remain in effect until 7 p.m. Friday night. The forecast for the rest of the weekend is:
This Afternoon: Sunny and hot, with a high near 98. Heat index values as high as 102. West wind around 10 mph.
Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 70. West wind between 5 and 8 mph becoming calm.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 95. Calm wind becoming west between 6 and 9 mph.
Saturday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. West wind between 6 and 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Sunday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 93. Northwest wind between 7 and 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Sunday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Partly cloudy, with a low around 69. Chance of precipitation is 20%.