Jul 19, 2022 - News

Philadelphia's prolonged heat could affect your health

Illustration of the sun with rays coming out of it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philadelphia's prolonged stretch of hot and muggy weather forecast this week could put the health of vulnerable populations at risk.

Driving the news: Forecasters are warning of a dangerous period of heat and humidity in the city, starting Tuesday and extending through at least Sunday.

  • Temperatures are expected to stay in the 90s, with Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday looking to be the hottest, circling around 95 degrees, per the National Weather Service.
  • But heat indices suggest temperatures will feel like the triple digits, NBC10 and CBS3 report.

Threat level: Extreme heat poses the greatest risks for the elderly, infants, pregnant people, those with preexisting medical conditions, and anyone without access to cooling.

The big picture: Summers are becoming deadlier as climate change blankets millions in heat waves, Axios' Arielle Dreher reports.

Between the lines: Heat can be disruptive to transportation networks. Amtrak last week issued an extreme heat warning for the Northeast region, warning of potential delays for trains running between New York and Philadelphia.

  • High temperatures can cause rails and wiring to expand, which forces trains to travel at slower speeds. It can also put rails at risk of warping, experts told ABC News.

Tips for staying cool: Philadelphia health officials recommend drinking more water, and bringing a water bottle with you when you go outside.

  • If you don't have air conditioning, make sure to open a window in your home if you're turning on a fan. Otherwise, it can raise temperatures, creating an "oven effect," according to city officials.
  • Wear sunscreen and seek out shade wherever possible.
  • Cooling centers and public spraygrounds are open across the city. Use this map to find the closest near you.
  • Make sure your pets stay cool and have plenty of water. Don't leave them outside for extended periods of time.

If the city declares a heat health emergency, cooling centers will stay open later and residential utility shutoffs will be halted.

  • Residents will also be able to contact the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's "Heatline" (215-765-9040) for health and safety tips and to talk to medical professionals about conditions made worse from the heat.
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