NJ heat index may hit 115 degrees: Even shore will feel nasty with humidity
The heat is on around New Jersey for as the heat index heads for 115 degrees on Saturday.
An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for the entire state this weekend as daytime high temperatures in the the upper 90s combined with high humidity will make it feel like 107 to 112 on Saturday and 102 to 107 on Sunday.
"A hot and incredibly humid air mass has taken over the entire east coast of the United States," meteorologist Dan Zarrow said of our heat wave. "These conditions go well beyond normal everyday summertime heat and humidity. This kind of heat can be very dangerous if you don't take proper care of yourself."
Many cities and municipalities have made their air-conditioned libraries, community centers and government buildings available this weekend as cooling centers for people to escape the heat.
Unfortunately, you won't find much relief along the Jersey Shore this weekend.
"While temperatures may be a few degrees cooler than further inland, the humidity will still make the air pretty uncomfortable. There's also an elevated risk of rip currents in the warm 80-degree ocean this weekend," Zarrow said.
Stay within the areas marked by the lifeguards and remember to swim parallel to the shore if you get caught in a rip, Zarrow advises.
Jimmy Buffet is scheduled to perform on the beach in Atlantic City on Saturday. Although he isn't scheduled to perform until late afternoon, crowds will gather all day during the worst heat of the day.
"Wear your sunscreen and a hat on the beach and if you see lightning get off the beach," Zarrow said, adding that you should only swim on a beach with lifeguards on duty.
In your car
New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams said not to ignore any warning lights that go on while you're headed to the shore and advises you to pull over as soon as you safely can.
"A warning light can mean several things, ranging from a simple emissions malfunction to something more severe like an overheating problem. Driving your vehicle when it's overheated can cause major damage."
If you can't easily pullover, Williams said opening the windows and shutting off the air conditioner and turning the heat on high — yes, the heat — allows the engine to cool off.
Relief in sight?
Zarrow said some relief is on the way next week.
"Temperatures and dew points should take a step downward on Monday, out of the 'dangerous heat' category. Even so, it looks like it's going to be a very warm and humid week, with high temperatures still right around 90 degrees. We'll hopefully get a cool down and breath of fresh, dry air arriving in the Friday-Saturday time frame."
More strong thunderstorm fueled by the heat and humidity will pop up again all around New Jersey with heavy rain, gusty winds and hail.
Popsicles for the animals
Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson is prepared to help keep its visitors and workers cool, according to spokeswoman Kristin Siebeneicher.
"In the theme park, we have misters, misting fans, shower-style sprinklers and add industrial-size sprinklers to the queues of our popular rides," she said, adding that free courtesy cups of water are available at any food stand or restaurant.
In the Safari, "animals are much better at managing extreme heat than humans. They follow their natural instincts of seeking relief through shade or water, where humans often fight it.
"Our animals have many watering holes and ponds to cool off and splash around in, and plenty of shade. Of course, elephants cover themselves in dirt as a sunscreen, and they also like to cool off in the ponds," Siebeneicher said.
"For animals like the bears, we make giant popsicles they can play with. We freeze fruit in large buckets of water. Those become giant fruit popsicles they can eat."
Siebeneicher said a team of EMTs are on the property at all times to offer assistance.