ITHACA, N.Y. — The astronomical start of summer may not be for a few more weeks, but it’s already starting to feel pretty steamy outside – A Heat Advisory is in effect for Tompkins County from CCC to DDD Wednesday.

The first wave of hot air was on the dry side, but as the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal moves into the Western Great Lakes, its moisture-laden counterclockwise circulation will advect much more humid hot air into the Southern Tier and Tompkins County. Temperatures will top out in the low to mid-90s, but because of very high humidity (the dewpoint will reach into the low 70s F), it will feel much hotter to the human body – the heat index will exceed 95 °F in most of Tompkins County, and in the city of Ithaca, it may reach 100 °F. The period of the highest heat will be from about 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Under these conditions, and especially in this area given our general lack of exposure to heat indices of this severity, please exercise due caution if outdoors at all during the day Wednesday. That means staying hydrated, taking frequent breaks in the shade, and avoiding strenuous activity if possible. If you’re a morning jogger, do it early. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing, and if possible, stay in an air-conditioned space and stay out of the sun.

The elderly, the ill, and those without air conditioning will be most at risk – keep an eye on your family members, friends and neighbors, and do courtesy checks to ensure their safety. Also, a car sitting in the open sun will heat up to dangerously high temperatures. Do not leave children or pets unattended – “look before you lock”. We will be reporting and updating as needed for designated cooling areas.

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service

Be familiar with the symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is when the body cannot regulate its internal temperature and warms to dangerous levels – symptoms include confusion, fainting, seizures, and very hot skin that may be excessively sweating or no sweat at all. If these symptoms are observed, call 911 immediately, and stay with the person. Cool the person rapidly with a cool, wet sponge or ice packs, fan them and have them lie down in a cooler, shadier nearby area.

Heat exhaustion, which comes from excessive strenuous work in high heat, includes headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, light-headedness, extreme thirst, heavy sweating and a rapid heartbeat. If these symptoms start to occur, have the person stop working immediately, get the affected person to a cool place, give them cool drinks and ice packs, and if no signs of improvement are noted after an hour, call 911.

Thankfully, this outdoor sauna will be short-lived. Wednesday night will be unpleasantly muggy, but a cold front will be coming through during the day Thursday, bringing thunderstorms in the AM hours, but followed by cooler and drier air for our region.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at