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We’re Havin’ A Heat Wave. . .

Originally Posted: July 06, 2010

Officials urge citizens to exercise caution during this heat wave. (wkyc.com)

Southampton - As scorching heat blasts the Northeast with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, officials remind citizens about water conservation and other tips.

Due to recent weather, high temperatures combined with humidity for long periods of time, Southampton Town will be opening a cooling center for residents which will be open until 4 p.m. today at Hampton Bays Senior Center, Ponquogue Avenue, Hampton Bays, for those who may need to get out of the heat and humidity for a period of time.

Temperatues are not expected to lessen until later this week.

For Town residents who may not have available transportation, contact staff at the Hampton Bays Senior Center at 631-728-1235 for shuttle service. Those who are able to provide their own transportation are requested to do so.

Town residents are cautioned to limit/avoid prolonged outdoor work or work in poorly ventilated areas; these conditions can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Drink plenty of water and try to stay in an air conditioned environment.

In Riverhead, recognizing the realities caused by this summer's extreme drought conditions, Riverhead Water District Water Superintendent Gary Pendzick asked town residents to cease all lawn irrigation until the current heat wave breaks.

Supervisor Walter said, "The Riverhead Water District recently declared a water emergency and I believe it is only common sense that we ask our citizens and businesses to stop watering their lawns and to curb water use in general," Supervisor Walter continued to state, "I ask every resident to consider our current drought condition before they turn on the tap."

"The combination of record breaking hot dry weather has caused an unprecedented amount of lawn irrigation to occur and we need to be mindful of our water reserves since these weather conditions increase the potential for fires," stated Superintendent Pendzick.

Supervisor Walter said, "When weather conditions change we will be sure to inform the public that this restriction has been lifted. I know that all residents recognize that weather is something that we cannot control and that municipalities across the country face the same water supply situation as Riverhead."

For more information go to www.Riverheadli.com, or call 631-727-3200.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis and State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., have issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for all regions of New York State for July 7. The pollutant of concern is: Ozone. The advisory will be in effect 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. DEC and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value leading to a greater health concern.

The Weather Channel is recording temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in the Northeast. (weatherchannel.com)

Summer heat can lead to the formation of ground level ozone a major component of smog. Automobile exhaust and out-of-state emission sources are the primary causes of ground level ozone and are the most serious air pollution problems in the northeast. This surface pollutant should not be confused with the protective layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere.

People, especially young children, those who exercise outdoors, those involved in vigorous outdoor work and those who have respiratory disease (such as asthma) should consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity when ozone levels are the highest (generally afternoon to early evening). When outdoor levels of ozone are elevated, going indoors will usually reduce your exposure. Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting their doctor.

Ozone levels generally decrease at night and can be minimized during daylight hours by curtailment of automobile travel and the use of public transportation where available. New Yorkers also are urged to take the following energy saving and pollution-reducing steps:

 • Use mass transit or carpool instead of driving, as automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution in our cities.
 • Conserve fuel and reduce exhaust emissions by combining necessary motor vehicle trips.
 • Turn off all lights and electrical appliances in unoccupied areas, use fans to circulate air. If air conditioning is necessary, set thermostats at 78 degrees.
 • Close the blinds and shades to limit heat build-up and to preserve cooled air;
limit use of household appliances. If necessary, run the appliances at off-peak (after 7 p.m.) hours. These would include dishwashers, dryers, pool pumps and water heaters.
 • Set refrigerators and freezers at more efficient temperatures.
 • Purchase and install energy efficient lighting and appliances with the Energy Star label; and reduce or eliminate outdoor burning and attempt to minimize indoor sources of PM 2.5 such as smoking.

A toll free Air Quality Hotline (1-800-535-1345) has been established by DEC to keep New Yorkers informed of the latest Air Quality situation. Further information on ozone and PM 2.5 is available www.dec.ny.gov, and www.health.state.ny.us.

All officials urge citizens to pay particular attention to the needs of the elderly and pets and offer any assistance that might be required.

"Public safety is our utmost concern, and today New Yorkers need to be prepared for a significant heat wave that is forecasted for this week, particularly in New York City and on Long Island, where conditions are expected to be at their worst. All New Yorkers must take proper precautions to avoid exhaustion or injury during the severe weather, and remember to stay out of the sun when possible and avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest time of day - between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. Please drink fluids regularly, particularly water, even if you are not thirsty. Check on your elderly neighbors and those with special needs, and never leave children or pets unattended in vehicles.

Governor David A. Paterson has stated "New Yorkers can be assured that we will continue to work with State agencies and public authorities to monitor electricity use and prevent possible loss of power. The Public Service Commission has ordered all State facilities located in the New York City metropolitan area - such as the Port Authority, MTA, government offices, and others - to activate their peak-load reduction programs to reduce electric load during peak consumption hours - between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Additionally, both the Long Island Power Authority and the New York Power Authority are monitoring transmission lines and power generating plants to ensure continued and uninterrupted operations.

"We ask that New Yorkers do the same by setting their thermostats no lower than 78 degrees, turning off nonessential electronics during peak consumption hours, and turning off air conditioners when they leave their residences. For more tips on how to beat the heat go to www.getenergysmart.org.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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