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The heat is on: Boston declares heat emergency starting Tuesday

Mayor Wu has declared a heat emergency in Boston for Tuesday through Thursday, with the heat index (actual temperature plus humidity) possibly going above 100 during the day.

Cooling centers will be open at the city's 14 community centers, there are city pools and splash pads all over and BPL branches all have working air conditioning. New this year: Misting towers at Boston firehouses and parks, but the basic advice is: Try to limit outdoor exposure, stay hydrated and get yourself to someplace with air conditioning.

The National Weather Service heat advisory runs from noon Tuesday through 7 p.m. Friday, with anticipated peak heat-index values around 101.

ISO New England, which oversees the regional electrical grid, reports it is not anticipating any problems, that the 23,750 megawatts of demand it's expecting for the peak of the heat wave, on Thursday, is both below the 30,000 megawatts New England can pump out from its various electricity providers.

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Comments

Is Mass and Cass no longer public health emergency?

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Take a ride by and let me know what you think. They're back.

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As anyone who ever goes to the airport, I see they are back. My question is if it's still a public health crisis. And if it is, why don't we get emails or texts about it.

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Maybe you got blocked?

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But, yes, the opioid epidemic is still a public health crisis.

Find out how you can help: https://www.mass.gov/substance-use-prevention-for-the-general-public
Overdose risk factors: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/opioid-overdose-risk-factors
Local public health toolkit: https://opioid-toolkit.mhoa.com/home/

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What new information should the city be providing you on a regular basis about this?

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When it's going to grow a pair, and tell Quincy and the state that a new bridge to Long Island is either happening, or Neponset Circle gets a $25 toll for vehicles entering Boston?

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When it's going to grow a pair, and tell Quincy and the state that a new bridge to Long Island is either happening, or Neponset Circle gets a $25 toll for vehicles entering Boston?

Probably shortly after you stop equating positive virtues like courage and resolve with the possession of testicles.

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I wouldn't not expect a woman to lower the hammer.

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I wish they would knock it off with this "heat index" thing, as well as the "wind chill" in cold weather. Weather is now reported as if heat index and wind chill are gospel, and the actual temperature be damned. It's misleading and it's sensationalistic. I wish they would just announce the actual, legitimate temperature on any given day and let me decide what it "feels like".

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Wind blowing on you in the cold will increase your body's heat loss, making it more dangerous to you than the same temperature on a still day. Similarly, the heat index takes into account the humidity (prevents your body from sweating increasing the chances you'll overheat) as well as direct sunlight vs cloudy day (you have to agree being in the sun makes you hotter). Reason why we don't get those warnings at the same temperatures when the weather doesn't require it. They give both the actual temperature and the heat index/wind chill warnings when they do the weather reports too so you aren't being robbed of anything. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's not useful information for the rest of humanity.

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Temperature isn't as important as apparent temperature, adjusted for humidity and/or wind.

Why?

Because in order to cool your body off you need your sweat to evaporate. If your sweat can't evaporate efficiently because humidity prevents that, you heat up. This inability to cool your body means that being in 95 degree high humidity weather can be worse than being in 110 degree heat in a dry place.

That is why the professionals who have been studying the health impacts of heat events for decades use temperature corrected for humidity - aka the heat index - as the most robust predictor of potential damage. People who have been studying the body's cooling responses for a century in controlled environments have repeatedly verified that heat index (or similar humidity adjusted measure) is the best predictor of physiologic response to heat. Straight up temperature doesn't work for studying multi-city models and multiple extreme heat events, either.

This is why the NWS uses heat index as a indicator for severity of heat when they issue advisories, watches and warnings. There are decades of research behind this.

I'm guessing that you have never experienced hot weather in multiple climates. I grew up with dry and hot summers and it really is very different. I'll take 105 in a dry place over 95 around here any time.

There is similar research for wind chill as a measure of heat loss. When the wind is blowing your body loses heat much faster. While you can bundle up against the cold to protect yourself, unlike with heat, wind chill factor is still an an appropriate adjustment for heat loss potential at a given temperature.

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You might make the argument that those who use these terms don't adequately explain them; on the other hand, there's a whole internet out there that could inform you. They are useful terms because they indicate the degree to which environmental conditions will affect your survivability.

Wind chill is an indication of how quickly an object will cool down to the ambient temperature. If the temperature on the bulb is 20 degrees and there's no wind, a cup of hot coffee will cool down more slowly than it will if there's a 40 mph wind -- but in both cases, it will never cool down below 20 degrees. When people are confused and think that can't possibly be true, I ask them why the Gulf of Mexico doesn't freeze in a category 5 hurricane.

Heat index is different. It's an indication of how slowly (or how poorly) an organism, like a human being, can lose excess heat. Evaporation of sweat from the skin is one of the mechanisms that humans have to lose heat, and as others have pointed out, humidity is a huge factor because it greatly slows the rate of evaporation of sweat from the skin: the more moisture there is in the air, the more slowly sweat (or any other liquid) evaporates, and the slower the heat loss. Wind is another factor, or rather lack of wind: a breeze feels cooling both because it moves away the relatively hotter air around your body and replaces it with cooler air, and because it speeds evaporation. So, in still humid conditions, your body can do much less to get rid of excess heat.

All of this matters because human beings have to regulate their body temperature to within a relatively narrow range. Humans can tolerate an air temperature of 72 degrees just fine, but if that was your body temperature, you'd be a corpse. Likewise with heat: humans can survive in air temperatures up to about 120 degrees if they're not stupid, but a body temperature of 110 will kill you. As you can see, the range that we can tolerate is much narrower on the high side than it is on the low side. Furthermore, apart from our body's thermoregulation, we have more tools for coping with cold than we do with heat. So, yes, heat index matters. It matters a lot, and I'm glad that government agencies are paying attention to it and making people aware of it.

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The Heat is On!

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I love this story cuz it brought out the pathetic Annissa Essaibi George sore losers who now have become so concerned about the addicted on Mass Ave. They will NEVER get over landslide victory of Wu. LOL.

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... and the libraries are closed Wednesday for the holiday, so they can't be used for routine cooling.

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