Record heat possible as summer arrives

Wednesday June 20, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Like snow on Christmas, it just feels right for summer's arrival to be a hot one.

But with potential record temperatures today and Thursday, it may be more warmth than most are looking for.

The forecast calls for a high of around 93 today, which heralds summer at 7:09 p.m., and the National Weather Service anticipates high humidity as well. The current record of 91 was set at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport in 1931 and tied in 1953.

The combination of high temperatures and humidity have led the National Weather Service to issue heat advisories for much of the surrounding areas, but the higher elevations could preclude the Berkshires from similar warnings. Still, it will be plenty hot in and out of the county.

"The heat index may turn to upper 90s in Berkshire County, but you don't have to go very far to get it over 100," said Brian Mont gomery, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Albany, N.Y.

A number of agencies, including the National Weather Service, American Red Cross of Central and Western Massachusetts, and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, are urging locals to use the following precautions to stay cool:

  • Slow down, avoid strenuous activity.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothes.
  • Drink plenty of water, while limiting intake of alcohol.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors.

The heat wave, caused by a large area of high pressure, is expected to continue through Thursday before temperatures dip back to more seasonal levels on Friday. The forecast for Thursday calls for a high in the low 90s, which could top the unofficial Pittsfield record of 93 set in 1953.

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Keeping cool while being energy efficient

Given the heat expected today and Thursday, Western Massachusetts Electric Co. is suggesting the following ways to keep cool in energy efficient ways.

  • Limit the use of household appliances that emit heat.
  • If using air conditioning, adjust your thermostat or window unit setting to a higher temperature when leaving the house. Turn the temperature back down when you return home.
  • Run appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers later in the evening.
  • Cook outdoors on the grill to prevent heating up your home by using the oven or stove.
  • Keep windows closed during the heat of day, and draw blinds or shades to block out the sun.
  • Use fans to circulate air throughout your home.
  • Unplug electric "vampires" like cell phone and laptop chargers, remote control appliances and electronics that you're not using.
  • Take a short, refreshing shower to cool off.
  • Stay hydrated, drink ample amounts of water and fruit drinks.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activities when possible, and exercise indoors.
  • Visit one of the public cooling centers established in several cities and towns in response to the heat wave.


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