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July 20, 2017

Friday: Another day of summer swelter – and excessive heat warnings

Weather Heat Wave
Stock_Carroll - Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philly Skyline Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway on a hazy and hot summer day.

Health officials in Philadelphia, Camden and Montgomery County have declared heat emergencies as high temperatures and humidity continue to cloak the region.

A Code Red is in effect in Philadelphia through 11 p.m. Friday, and in Montgomery County through 6 p.m. Friday. In Camden, a heat alert is in effect till 7 p.m. Thursday.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory through 7 p.m. Thursday. It already had declared an excessive heat warning for the region through 8 p.m. Friday.

Officials are warning of the dangers of the sweltering temperatures, especially for seniors, children and people with existing health conditions related to the heart and lungs, including asthma. Family, friends and neighbors are encouraged to check in on the elderly. People who work outdoors are also encouraged to take precautions.

On Thursday afternoon, a high temperature of 96 degrees and relative humidity of 39 percent conspired to produce a heat index of 98 degrees at Philadelphia International Airport, according the weather service. The heat index expresses the discomfort felt as a result of the combined effects of the temperature and humidity of the air.

The high for the day – though nine degrees higher than the normal temperature for the date – came up three degrees short of the record high 99 degrees in Philadelphia for the date, set in 1930.

Forecasters said there will be little relief overnight Thursday as temperatures fall back into the 70s and the humidity rises to near 72 percent.

More oppression is on the way Friday.

Heat indexes are again expected to rise into 98- to 105-degree territory in the region, according to forecasters. A high of 97 degrees is expected Friday, well short of the record high for the date: 103 degrees in 1930.

A hot summer for much of the United States looks to get even hotter, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who released a report on Thursday. According to Live Science:

For the next three months — August, September and October — the United States is predicted to have above-average temperatures, Dan Collins, a meteorologist and seasonal forecaster with the NOAA Climate Prediction Center-Operational Prediction Branch, said in news briefing today. 

Meanwhile, as the heat wave persists, Philadelphia officials are asking people who see someone on the street in distress to call outreach at 215-232-1984.

And the Camden County Freeholder Board is once again distributing free fans to senior citizens this year. Residents age 60 and older with an income of $25,000 or less are eligible to receive a fan at no cost. To request a fan or to obtain more information, call the Camden County Division of Senior Services at (856) 858-3220.