Residents of northeast city flee record-breaking heatwaves

PROMISED LAND, Pa. (AP) — It’s not exactly flowing milk and honey — just ask the area’s struggling black bears — but for urban northeasters trying to escape a heat wave from nearly a week that only threatened to escalate on Sunday, promised land offered respite.

Those with the resources fled to pools, beaches and higher elevations like Promised Land State Park, 1,800 feet (550 meters) in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains and about a 2.5-hour drive from New York and Philadelphia.

From the Pacific Northwest to the southern Great Plains to the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor, more than 85 million Americans woke up Sunday to excessive heat warnings or heat advisories issued by the National Weather Service. The agency warned of “extremely oppressive” conditions from Washington to Boston.

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Even in the Promised Land, temperatures were expected to soar above 90 (32 degrees Celsius), but with forest shade, cool lake water and mountain breezes, it was more than tolerable, officials said. visitors.

Rosa Chavez, 47, a high school teacher in Manhattan, applied sunscreen on a beach at Promised Land Lake. She and her friend Arlene Rodriguez, who accompanied her, had just lived Europe’s heat wave while vacationing last week in Florence, Italy.

“The heat follows us,” said Rodriguez, 47, a realtor and property manager.

Many records are expected to be tied or broken in the northeast, the weather service said.

Philadelphia was expected to reach 100 degrees (38 degrees Celsius) on Sunday before even accounting for humidity. At least one heat-related death in New York has been reported. Across the region, sporting events have been shortened or postponed.

Philadelphia officials have extended a heat emergency through Sunday, sending workers to check on homeless people and knock on doors for other vulnerable residents. The city also opened cooling centers and parked air-conditioned buses at four intersections for people to cool off.

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Forecasters urged people to wear light clothing, drink plenty of water, limit time outdoors and watch the elderly and pets.

Vangie Jacobo wipes her face with a damp cloth as she works outdoors in 106-degree heat in Phoenix, Arizona on July 23, 2022. Photo by Rebecca Noble/Reuters

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu declared a heat-related emergency through Monday and kept a dozen cooling centers open.

New York City Triathlon organizers shortened the distances athletes had to run and cycle. This weekend’s Boston Triathlon has been rescheduled for August 20-21.

On the west coast, forecasters warned of extreme heat arriving early in the week and persisting through the weekend. Temperatures could hit daily records in Seattle, Portland and northern California by Tuesday and be the highest since a heat wave last year that killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest .

Many homes in the often rainy region lack air conditioning, and authorities have warned that indoor heat is likely to build up during the week, increasing the risk of heat-related illnesses, which medical officials say. Boston emergency also warned.

Chavez, in Promised Land, said she has asthma and needs to keep her inhaler handy, especially “when the heat is so thick I can’t breathe”. Breezes and clearer air in the mountains help, she says.

It was already over 80 degrees by mid-morning when Mhamed Moussa Boudjelthia, a 31-year-old Uber driver from Queens, lit a grill at the beach to make kebabs. He and another friend from Queens had fled the scorching chaos of the city for the day.

“It’s really hot there,” Boudjelthia said. “There is also too much humidity.”

His friend, Kamel Mahiout, 35, agreed as he stood in a cooling breeze: “It’s crazy in New York.”

The heat even lessened within an hour’s drive, at lower altitudes. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, Sunday’s high was expected to be 97 and not drop below 70 overnight.

“It also leads to danger. People don’t get this relief overnight,” said Weather Services forecaster Lily Chapman. “This stress on the body is sort of cumulative over time.”

The region was also drier than usual, she said.

Regular campers and cabin residents at Promised Land attribute the dry conditions to unusually high bear sightings. Animals scour neighborhoods and campsites for scraps as streams and bays dry up.

“Today is hot,” said Alex Paez, 34, of Scranton, sitting under a shaded awning on the beach in Promised Land. “If you don’t need to be outdoors to do something productive, then stay indoors.”


Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed to this report; Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana; Michael Hill in Albany, NY: Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island; and Curt Anderson in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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