As Heat Wave Bakes New Jersey, Residents Asked to Reduce Water Use - The World News

As Heat Wave Bakes New Jersey, Residents Asked to Reduce Water Use

The intense and unusually early heat wave that has blanketed much of the Northeast for the past week continued on Sunday to scorch New Jersey, where excessive heat warnings or heat advisories were in effect in most of the state, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures throughout the region were more than 10 degrees above average on Sunday, according to Joe DeSilva, a meteorologist with the Weather Service. Trenton, the state capital, reached 98 degrees — just two degrees shy of the city’s hottest recorded temperature, last logged in 1952, he said.

The worst of the sweltering heat should be over by Sunday evening, Mr. DeSilva said, though temperatures were expected to remain in the 80s in the coming week.

Officials in numerous communities urged residents — especially older people, homeless people and those with chronic health conditions — to prevent heat-related illness by staying hydrated, using air-conditioning, limiting strenuous physical activity and wearing loose, light-colored clothing. Pet owners should also monitor their animals for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting, drooling and lethargy, officials said.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection encouraged New Jerseyans to take advantage of the Chill Out NJ tool, an online map of public places where people can find air-conditioning, pools, splash pads, beaches or shady parks.

The lengthy heat wave also prompted officials in some places, including Pennsville Township, Moorestown and Vineland in South Jersey, and Ridgewood, Denville and Butler in North Jersey, to announce mandatory or optional water restrictions, asking residents to refrain from washing their cars or watering their lawns. And at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, a National Women’s Soccer League game between Gotham F.C. and the Washington Spirit on Sunday was moved to 6 p.m. from 1:30 p.m. because of the heat.

In Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, where the heat index rose over 100 degrees, heat visibly radiated from the surface of Ferry Street as people packed into Sihana Cafe, where they took advantage of air-conditioning and free water.

“It’s ridiculously hot,” said Monica Dos Santos, 24, a cafe employee, as she served yet another iced coffee. “People should stay inside and stay cool, unless they can make it to the beach. And if you can get to the beach, you should live on it.”

In Jersey City, Genevieve Friedman, who had traveled from Brooklyn to meet a friend for brunch in the Paulus Hook neighborhood, said she was making every effort to beat the heat.

“I’m at an all-time high in fluid consumption, and I’m leaving my air-conditioning on at night, which I never do,” Ms. Friedman, 29, an editor at a medical news website, said as she sat on a stoop, sweating and waiting for her friend to arrive.

Though the weather was far from pleasant, Ms. Friedman said she believed that New Jersey residents had better get used to it.

“With climate change, there will be more and more extreme weather coming,” she said. “We can only expect more of this.”

New Jersey is warming faster than any other state in the region, according to its Environmental Protection Department, and extreme heat events are expected to become more frequent and last longer.

Some residents fled North Jersey’s urban areas on Sunday for the relative relief of the Jersey Shore.

Franco Riofrio, 41, a banker from Woodland Park, had traveled with his wife and young daughter to the public beach at Sea Bright, calling the trip “the absolute best way to escape this heat.”

The weather made a sudden shift even as the family arrived on the beach: Mr. Riofrio said his car’s temperature gauge had read 100 degrees, but that it had felt drastically cooler as a strong wind swept in from the Atlantic Ocean.

“It’s been so incredibly hot, then the wind hits us and it feels like we’ve got a wind chill,” Mr. Riofrio said. “I guess we can expect a lot more volatility in weather patterns from now on.”

John Forsman, the captain of the Sea Bright lifeguard squad, pointed out that beachgoers should be careful about ocean swimming, which can be dangerous even during optimal weather.

“Rip currents are real, and beach erosion has worn out the sandbars that helped swimmers in the past,” Forsman, 26, of nearby Little Silver, said.

“This heat wave has definitely made more people go to the beach than normal,” he added. “But they really need to understand that when you swim in the ocean, you have to know your abilities and know your limits.”

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