A combination of excessive heat and humidity could make Friday the summer's most miserable and, in fact, dangerous day of the summer.
The National Weather Service has issued an "excessive heat warning," for all of western Long Island with high temperatures predicted to reach nearly 100 degrees. Combined with intense humidity, the heat index, or real feel of Long Island communities could reach 108, the NWS says.
To make matters worse, the state has issued an air quality alert for all of Long Island and New York City, warning people with breathing conditions to take precautions.
All of this creates hazardous conditions for virtually everyone exposed to the heat for extended periods of time, but particularly the elderly and the infirm. Children, too, can become dehydrated and suffer from heat-related sickness, experts say. Without protective action, the initial impacts include fatigue, sunstroke, muscle cramps and heat stroke, the weather service warned.
There is relief in sight, in the form of heavy thunderstorms that could pass through the region on Saturday night into Sunday. If they arrive as scheduled, Sunday afternoon's high will only be in the mid-80s, the NWS reports.
People who work outdoors should schedule frequent breaks and drink lots of water. The warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Friday and is likely to return Saturday.
The best antidote is to stay cool, wear light-weight clothing, stay in the shade as much as possible and drink plenty of water, experts advise.
Someone exhibiting signs of heat stroke should be moved to the shade quickly. Experts say heat stroke is an emergency that merits an immediate call to 911.
Fire departments across Long Island and in New York City have been swamped with such calls since the brutal heat wave began on Sunday, news outlets reported.