Update 4 p.m.
No residents took advantage of the cooling centers designated by the city for a midweek heat wave, which saw heat indices as high as 104 degrees, according to Bruce Driska, Emergency Management Director for Middletown.
City hall and the police lobby are open for the public, with restrooms and drinking fountains. Russell Library and the senior center both were open for folks to find relief from the sweltering temperatures.
"It's unknown how many people frequented the library due to the hot weather but it's a known fact from Director Art Meyers that people use the coolness and the resources of the library during the heat," Driska said.
Driska said he went over all of Wednesday's medical calls. "There didn't appear to be any related to the heat," he said. Tomorrow, he said, will be hotter. "Heat indices will be up one or two degrees."
Tuesday was a 64 air quality index, Wednesday was 101 AQI and Thursday is predicted to be 111 AQI.
He reiterated many of the safety tips found below.
The record for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks is 96 degrees for June 20 and 21. Today at 3:51 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, Bradley hit 97 degrees. In Middletown, it reached 94 degrees at 3:53 p.m.
Transportation may be provided to the cooling center by calling Middletown Area Transit (MAT) at 860-346-0212 (Ext. 7) until 6 P.M. each day.
With possible record high temperatures forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday, Middletown has opened as a cooling center from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., the , and the lobby day and night until the heat breaks, according to Bruce Driska, Emergency Management Director.
The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is also advising people to be cautious during this period of extreme heat.
“A few simple steps can greatly reduce heat related issues, especially for the elderly, the very young and people with respiratory ailments, who are more susceptible to the effects of high temperature,” said DESPP Deputy Commissioner William P. Shea.
Temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday are expected to range from 95 to 100 degrees across most of interior Connecticut with Heat Index Temperatures between 100 and 105.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection forecasts unhealthy air quality for “sensitive groups” on Wednesday and Thursday due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution for Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties.
A forecast of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” indicates increased likelihood of respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort in active children and adults with respiratory disease, such as asthma.
For comparison, Tuesday was a 64 air quality index, while Wednesday is predicted for 101 AQI.
Ground level or "bad" ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC.
High pressure centered to our south will allow for a combination of sunny skies, hot temperatures and west to northwest surface winds to persist over Connecticut Wednesday and Thursday. This combination of heat and surface winds will produce favorable conditions for ozone formation and transport of elevated levels of ozone into coastal Connecticut from Long Island Sound.
Inland areas will likely experience good to moderate levels of ozone as the surface winds will transport less upwind ozone and precursors. A forecast of “moderate” air quality levels indicates that unusually sensitive individuals may experience respiratory symptoms.
Anyone can be affected by ozone, but groups particularly sensitive include children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma. Sensitive people who experience effects at lower ozone concentrations are likely to experience more serious effects at higher concentrations.
The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection offer the following tips during extreme high temperatures:
- Slow down, and avoid strenuous activity.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
- Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your body.
- Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate sweat, which cools your body.
- Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
- Cover windows that get morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent
- Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
- Do not leave pets outside for extended periods. Make sure pets have plenty of drinking water.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors regularly.