Parts of the Tri-State Area are currently under a heat advisory this week, in anticipation of the season’s first heat wave.

The advisory spans from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday for northern New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley. Additionally, an excessive heat watch is in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday until 8 p.m. Sunday for most of New Jersey.

Summers in the New York City area can be scorching, with July’s hottest normal high reaching 85 degrees. Central Park recorded its highest temperature ever at 106 degrees on July 9, 1936.

Heat-related conditions can be fatal — the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., claiming over 1,000 lives annually. Awareness of heat advisories, watches, and warnings can save lives.

Heat advisories & watches

Heat advisory: Issued by the National Weather Service when the heat index is expected to reach between 95 and 99 degrees for two consecutive days or more, or when it is forecasted to hit between 100 and 104 degrees.

Excessive heat watch: Alerts issued one to two days ahead of a forecasted heat index of 105 degrees or higher.

Heat index: Reflects the “real feel” combining temperature and humidity. Higher humidity intensifies the perceived heat.

Heat dome: Occurs when a mass of hot air is trapped under the atmosphere, expected to affect the eastern U.S. with prolonged high temperatures this week.

What constitutes a heat wave?

A heat wave is defined as three or more consecutive days of temperatures reaching or exceeding 90 degrees.

New York City experiences about two heat waves each summer, typically lasting around four days. The longest recorded lasted 12 days in August-September 1953.

Urban challenges

The city’s infrastructure exacerbates heat effects due to the Urban Heat Island Effect, where buildings and pavement retain and radiate heat, preventing nighttime cooling. This phenomenon can create temperature differences of up to 20 degrees between the city and suburbs, posing health risks.

Excessive heat warning: Typically coinciding with heat waves, these alerts are issued when the heat index is forecasted to exceed 105 degrees for at least two consecutive hours, 24 hours in advance.

Staying safe in high heat

During prolonged heat, heat-related illnesses peak, causing hundreds of deaths annually in NYC alone, with vulnerable areas including the South Bronx, Upper Manhattan, and Central Brooklyn. Elderly individuals are particularly at risk.

When an excessive heat warning is issued, precautions such as limiting outdoor activities, staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol and heavy meals, and seeking shade or air-conditioned spaces are crucial for staying safe.