Health officials are advising people to drive less and avoid strenuous outdoor activity as a sweltering summer solstice brings high heat and humidity to Central New York.
A heat advisory is in effect for the CNY region from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday - the first day of summer - as temperatures are forecast to rise to the mid-90s in Syracuse and Albany and upper 80s in Buffalo, with humidity making conditions more oppressive.
According to CNY Central Meteorologist Peter Hall's forecast, "After a stuffy and steamy overnight, today is likely to be the hottest day of the year so far. Skies will be mainly sunny throughout the day. Scorching afternoon temperatures will combine with oppressive dew points near 70. This will create a heat index near or over 100 this afternoon.
A heat advisory is in effect for this high heat index. Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks, especially if you work outside. Since there is likely to be a strong "cap" or "lid" on the atmosphere, more likely than not we should all remain dry.
Temperatures may hit a record on Wednesday and will likely hit the highest temperature of the year. The record high for Wednesday is 96 set back in 1931. Astronomical Summer arrives officially at 7:09 PM. Wind: Light and variable this morning then west to west-northwest at 10-15 mipes per hour this afternoon."
State officials have issued an air quality health alert for the southern and western half of the state from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Wednesday because high heat combined with vehicle exhaust leads to the formation of lung-irritating ozone. Officials urge people to drive less to reduce the amount of air pollution.
Health officials have warned residents to drink water, stay out of the sun and in air conditioning, and to check on elderly neighbors and pets. In Syracuse, the public pools at Burnet, Onondaga, Schiller, and Thornden will be open this evening from 3:00 to 7:00 for residents to beat the heat.
The threat of hot weather has even affected scheduled events today. We're told that the Baldwinsville Community Band concert at McHarrie Towne in Baldwinsville has been cancelled, and more cancellations are likely.
(Information from Peter Hall and the Associated Press was used in this report)