Bad news: This weekend is forecast hot and humid. Very hot. Very humid.
Good news: By Wednesday, high temperatures should fall into the 70s with lower humidity and a respite from the heatwave.
How long will that last? Not as long as we might hope. The National Weather Service office in Blackburg expects a hot and humid August that could last past Labor Day and into September.
The forecasters use statements like “oppressive and dangerous heat.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) calls excessive heat “a silent killer.”
“Extreme head is hazardous,” adds the Emergency Management Department of New York City.
Heatwaves now last about 45 days longer each year than back in the 1960s, reports the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe deaths from heat will soon surpass those from cold, freezing weather. In 1995, a heatwave in Chicago killed more than 700 people.
“In a heatwave and many climate events, it’s social isolation that proves to be truly dangerous,” Eric Kilenberg, director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, told The New York Times. “If you’re home and alone in a heatwave when you’re old and frail you’re more likely to die if you don’t have air conditioning.”
This will get worse, Kallenberg says. “Think about the most extreme summer heat you’ve ever experienced in your lifetime. That will become a typical summer day by the middle of this century, if we continue on the path that we’re on.”
Songwriter Irving Berlin had his own description of a heatwave:
Oh! We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave
The temperature’s rising, it isn’t surprising,
She certainly can can-can
She started a heatwave by letting her seat wave,
In such a way that the customers say
That she certainly can can-canGee, gee! Her anatomy makes the mercury rise to 93!
Having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave, the way that she moves,
That thermometer proves that she certainly can…