Hot days through weekend, poor air quality Friday
AP FILE PHOTO A heat wave is forecast to continue into the weekend, with poor air quality predicted for Hampshire County most of Friday. This smog-covered skyline of New Jersey is seen in July 2007. Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — A heat wave known as a “Bermuda High” is expected to push temperatures into the low- to mid-90s today through the weekend, with poor air quality projected for Hampshire County for most of today.
“It will be hazy, hot and humid, especially Friday,” said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air quality alert for the eastern part of Hampshire County from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today. The alert means that ground-level ozone concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children are advised to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion while outdoors.
“It’s going to cause some breathing problems in the area,” Vallier-Talbot said.
She said the state updates its air quality warnings 24 hours in advance so there’s a chance the air will continue to be bad into the weekend.
The hot weather will continue in Hampshire County Saturday and Sunday, and will likely be accompanied by thunderstorms both days. Storms Sunday have the potential to bring heavy rain, she said.
The heat wave began Thursday when the temperatures approached 90 in Hampshire County. It is expected to be even hotter today with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anticipating a high near 93. On Saturday the temperature will get up to 91 degrees and on Sunday NOAA predicts a high of 89.
On Monday, the area will start to feel some relief with the high temperature forecast at 76 degrees.
Though these are near-record temperatures — the record high is 95 at Bradley International Airport in Hartford in 1987 — a heat wave is not unusual for this time of year, Vallier-Talbot said.
“It’s a little early, but we’ve had heat waves in April, too,” she said.
When temperatures reach extreme heat, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that people over age 65, infants, children and people with chronic medical conditions in particular should stay in cool places, or seek air-conditioned places, if possible, and drink plenty of nonalcoholic beverages.
The hot blast of air is the result of a mix of a large high pressure system off the East Coast and winds from the south pushing warm and humid air up the coast.
The Bermuda High won’t last long, however. Temperatures starting Tuesday are expected to be in the mid-70s for several days.