Weekend heat wave: Record temperatures continue to soar across Mass.

Weekend heat brings concern for elderly community

BOSTON — The Boston area hit the upper 90s on Saturday, and it's expected to be just as hot through Sunday evening. The excessive heat warning that began Friday remains in effect until 8 p.m.

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After a few storms Saturday evening, a pop-up shower or storm could be likely again on Sunday afternoon or evening as a weak cold front approaches New England.

On Saturday Boston EMS announced on Twitter that they had responded to over 700 incidents since the beginning of the excessive heat warning. Twelve people were transported as a result of heat-related injuries.

Mayor Marty Walsh declared a heat emergency for the City of Boston in anticipation of the oppressive heat forecasted for the upcoming weekend throughout the area.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will remain in the 90s over the weekend, with heat index values (a combination of air temperature and relative humidity) expected to reach up to 112 degrees on Saturday and 109 degrees on Sunday.

In other words, the heat combined with high humidity will make it feel like it's 100-112 degrees.

"Just making sure we're hydrated for sure, staying under shade as much as possible," said Merari Toledano.

People outside Saturday are doing everything possible to stay safe during excessive heat warning.

"We haven't been out for a while, but it does feel like we've been out for a long time," Toledano said. "The heat is really really extreme."

But that didn't stop Toledano and her daughter from going to Festival Betances in the South End.

Also in attendance: Mayor Marty Walsh, who took the opportunity to warn people to stay safe.

"We have our water trucks out," the mayor said. "Police, Fire, EMS is all out making sure people are safe. We're working with our homeless community."

BCYF locations will stay open from 9-5 Saturday and Sunday, allowing even non-members to cool down.

"Just trying to get out of the weather. It's pretty hot outside," said Brian Johnson. "The cooling centers are the perfect place to come in, relax and to catch your breath from the hot day."

And many of those who chose to stay outside ventured to M Street Beach, using the water to stay cool.

"Just probably jumping in the water," said Erika Page on keeping cool. "And drinking lots of water, and sunscreen and all that good stuff."

The City of Boston is asking everyone to check on their neighbors as well as the elderly.

Kylar Johnson of Boston said he has already planned an entire weekend indoors.

"It’s almost hard to breathe. I’m sweating just by standing here.. It’s unbelievable. I’m getting sweat in my eyes," he said.

People in Boston are finding creative ways to cope with the extreme heat.

Alex Mosher bought a bag of cool ice to press against his head.

"I come out here and it’s so hot right now. It’s so humid," Mosher said.

Thousands of bottled waters have already been handed out by city workers and volunteers. Boston EMS is on high alert with extra crews on deck through the weekend.

For those with disabilities like Kirk Aschterlonie, the threat is even higher.

"I’ve high blood pressure, I’m disabled. I shouldn’t be out in the hot weather. I’m 60 years old," Aschterlonie said.

"This is uncomfortable," he said. "You take showers, it don’t help. How many showers you gonna take in a day? It’s dangerous. It’s very dangerous."

Walsh also announced that cooling centers will be available at BCYF community centers. Residents will also be able to swim for free in Boston's public pools for no charge.

For most people, falling asleep in the muggy weather is difficult, which is why air conditioners are in high demand right now.

The problem: this late in the summer, they're harder to find.

"We had a lot of AC's in yesterday and I'm kind of surprised that they are still here," said Rick Manupelli of ACE Hardware in Quincy. "Everyone is starting to run out of them."

Some customers aren't just thinking about humans.

"I have actually three dogs, and I had to buy an air conditioner for the dogs," said Bill Baker of Quincy.

But AC isn't an option for everybody.

"Especially since I'm renting and I'm 25, so I don't know if I'll be in the same apartment next year," said Hadley Williams of Boston.

"It's definitely harder to sleep."

The mayor released a list of heat safety tips for the public: 

  • Children and pets should never be left alone in vehicles, even for short periods of time.
  • Adults and children should use sunscreen containing an SPF-30 or higher and wear protective, loose-fitting clothing, including hats.
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas and be extra cautious from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the sun's UV radiation is strongest.
  • Keep cool with showers, shade, and ventilation. If you need help finding a place to cool off, call 311. The City of Boston operates outdoor and indoor pools, splash pads and spray decks, and several beaches in Boston at which you can cool off.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids regardless of activity level. Avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, and muscle aches could all be signs of heat exhaustion. If symptoms persist, call 911 immediately
  • If you have a child in your home, use child window guards in addition to screens on any open window on the second story or above. Falls are the leading cause of injury for children under the age of six.
  • Secure all window air conditioner units according to the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Please check on neighbors, especially older adults, and people with disabilities. Community partners are encouraged to share information on preparedness, safety, and resources within their networks. Additional tips and resources can be found at boston.gov/heat, including information sheets translated into 10 languages.
  • If you see homeless individuals out in the heat who appear immobile or disoriented, please call 911. Please ask them if they need assistance.
  • The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) operates emergency shelters at 112 Southampton St. and 794 Massachusetts Ave. These facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The City of Boston works closely with a network of shelter providers to ensure there is adequate shelter, food, and a cool respite from the heat.
  • Street outreach teams providing recovery services, including the Engagement Center behind 112 Southampton St., remain operating as normal during summertime weather.
  • Children should always wear shoes on playgrounds because surfaces can become extremely hot and cause burns, even splash pads and spray decks.

  • No outdoor fires are allowed in Boston, including fire pits, chimineas, and bonfires.
  • Charcoal grills must be on the ground and away from buildings. Keep in mind the wind and never leave unattended. When done, dispose of the ash in a metal container once completely out.
  • Propane tank grills are only allowed on first floor porches with steps to the ground. Do not place propane tank grills near air conditioners or up against a building. Make sure all connections are tight and never carry propane tanks into a home.
  • Grills should always be used in a well-ventilated area.
  • If you are in a grassy or wooded area, apply a DEET containing repellent that will protect against mosquitoes AND ticks. Always check yourself, children, and pets for ticks after returning indoors and remove attached ticks immediately using tweezers. Mosquito bites can spread West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), while attached ticks can spread Lyme disease.
  • Limit your time outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active and apply an approved mosquito repellent.