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High Heat, Ozone Alerts Issued

National Weather Service and RI Department of Environmental Management issue warnings with temperatures expected to reach into the 90s; RI Emergency Management Agency offers tips for coping with heat.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a heat advisory for today, which is expected to stay in effect through Thursday.

Forecasters are predicting temperatures in the 90s with high humidity, creating a heat index of 100 to 104 degrees.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) also is predicting air quality that will reach unhealthy levels Wednesday in most of the state. 

DEM predicts that conditions will be at their worst in the mid to late afternoon as a "very warm and very humid" air mass will be present at that time.

Regular RIPTA bus services will be free today.

The Department of Health warns that unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma/other respiratory ailments – all worsened by exercise and heavy activity. Children, the elderly and people with lung diseases are particularly at risk.

Avoid these risks by limiting outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and staying in an air-conditioned environment, if possible, during the peak hours.

Here are some tips on how to contribute to lower ground level ozone levels:

  • Limit driving. Avoid unnecessary car trips and carpool, walk or ride a bus/bicycle whenever possible.
  • Minimize starts and avoid unnecessary acceleration. Vehicle emissions are highest during starting and acceleration.
  • Reduce idling. Avoid congested traffic and lines at drive-through windows.
  • Drive your lowest emission vehicle. Use the most fuel-efficient, usually the newest, car you have whenever possible.
  • Refuel at stations with vapor recovery. Fill your tank at a station equipped with Stage II vapor recovery systems. (And don't top off.)
  • Maintain your vehicle. Get a tune-up at the beginning of each summer.
  • Minimize lawn mower emissions. Tune up your lawn mower and use electric or hand-powered equipment if possible.
  • Limit use of solvent-based household products. Use water-based or low solvent paints, varnishes, cleaners and personal care products.
  • Limit barbecue emissions. Use an electric starter instead of lighter fluid to start charcoal fires, or use an electric, natural gas or propane grill.

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) issues these tips to stay safe during extreme heat:

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothes. If you must be outside, wear a hat and use sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Avoid direct sunlight. Seek shade or air-conditioned buildings (libraries, malls) to keep cool.
  • Avoid strenuous, outdoor physical activity. If you must exercise outdoors, do so in the morning when temperatures are cooler and the air quality is better.
  • The elderly, infants, and anyone with chronic health conditions may be more likely to experience heat-related illness. Check on your family, friends, and neighbors and make sure they are able to stay cool and hydrated.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke: altered mental state, not sweating, nausea. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not leave pets or young children in the car. It takes only minutes for the temperature inside the car to reach deadly levels.
  • Consider using RIPTA buses.

For more information on extreme heat from RIEMA, click here.

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