Here's what to know ahead of the incoming heat wave

With what could be the state's highest temperatures of the summer starting Friday, New London, Norwich and other local towns are issuing safety precautions for residents.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday evening that, starting Friday, an excessive heat warning is in effect for northeastern New Jersey, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley, with a heat advisory in effect for Long Island and southern Connecticut. The agency expanded the excessive heat warning to include all of those areas on Saturday and Sunday, warning of conditions that "can cause illness and death" among at-risk populations, such as the elderly, young children and people with pre-existing health issues.

Western Connecticut State University Chief Meteorologist Gary Lessor said temperatures are forecast to reach up to 95 degrees along the shoreline and 97 degrees inland. The high temperatures coupled with high humidity will make it feel like it's more than 100 degrees.

The scorching heat is expected to cool down Monday with scattered showers, clouds and mid-80 temperatures. However, next weekend is supposed to heat up again.

Extreme humidity levels and hot temperatures have resulted in several towns and cities to open cooling centers. The City of New London announced that the Martin Center at 120 Broad St. will be open as a cooling center from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. New London fire Chief Tom Curcio urges residents to use the cooling centers, or dial 211 for help in finding shelter during the heat wave.

Norwich's Rose City Senior Center at 8 Mahan Drive and the St. Vincent de Paul Place Soup Kitchen at 120 Cliff St. are other available cooling centers. The Senior Center will be opened on Friday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the soup kitchen is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on all days, but closed on Sundays.

With construction on Interstate 395, motorists and workers are urged to stay hydrated and keep cool. Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said that although none of the construction will be postponed, workers will be given breaks and made aware of heat exhaustion signs.

"This is not the first time, this happens practically every summer," Nursick said. "Our crews are used to dealing with heat in the summer like snow in the winter; it's all about being aware of the conditions and using common sense."

U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding workers of high-temperature dangers, urging employers to allot water breaks every 15 minutes and develop an emergency plan in case of heat-related illnesses.

Members of Ferreira Construction Group working on the corner of Center and Vauxhall streets in New London said they are staying extra hydrated this week to avoid dehydration from the heat.

AAA said call volumes are expected to rise due the extreme heat. The agency suggests that drivers should be prepared for emergency breakdowns by checking car batteries and preparing an emergency kit with water, a first aid kit and jumper cables.

Residents also are encouraged to limit their electricity use during high temperatures. According to Norwich Public Utilities' outreach manager Chris Riley, electricity conservation leads to less danger and fewer outages. Using heat-producing electronics and major appliances, such as dishwashers, before 6 p.m. is discouraged. NPU urges people to consider using a microwave or grill rather than an oven to cook. The utility also recommends running window air conditioning units only when someone is home and setting a central AC system to 73 degrees.

Editor's Note: This version corrects the title of Norwich Public Utilities' outreach manager Chris Riley.


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