A full-fledged heat wave will hit Greater New York later this week, with public health implications for the New York City area.
High temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will challenge all-time records, and heat indexes will top 100 degrees, especially in urban parts of northeast New Jersey. The two-day streak will be by far the hottest readings of the year and could be enough to make June the 16th consecutive above-normal month in New York City.
More dangerously, low temperatures for later this week are expected to fall only into the upper 70s — roughly the same temperature as typical average highs for late June. After Chicago’s deadly heat wave in 1995, public health experts began to realize that it was precisely these abnormally hot low temperatures that added the most deadly stress to humans — the elderly and those without air conditioners simply didn’t have a break from the heat. Low temperatures are warming faster than high temperatures, leading to an increase in mortality risk from heat waves, which already kill more people each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined.
In response to this week’s life threatening heat, the National Weather Service is considering the issuance of a heat advisory for New York City and urban northeast New Jersey for the two-day period as heat indexes will likely eclipse dangerous levels — 100F or higher — in the afternoon hours.