A stormy end to the heat that has left the region sweltering this past week is expected this afternoon or evening.
But temperatures are forecast to reach 90 degrees again today before a late thunderstorm breaks the hazy, hot and humid weather that has had people seeking relief in air-conditioning or the ocean.
People are advised to exercise caution by avoiding strenuous exercise and staying hydrated. Libraries across the region are doubling as cooling centers during the day.
The high at the Atlantic City International Airport reached 96 degrees Friday, with the heat index at 107 degrees. The temperature was shy of the record 99 degrees set in 1942, said Mitchell Gaines a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
After the heat breaks today, high temperatures will be in the low 80s for the next week, Gaines said.
But along with the forecast of cooler temperatures, the Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook from today through Thursday. Gaines said the most likely rain should occur between this afternoon and evening, and thunderstorms are possible every day the next week.
On Friday, forecasters expanded an excessive heat warning for all counties north of Ocean County, and an advisory remained in effect for Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties.
“I’m used to the humidity because I come every summer for a week, but … it’s hot,” Jen MacKinlay, 42, of Vail, Colo., said Friday morning before hitting the beach in Longport, the city where she grew up. “It feels uncomfortable. You go outside and you’re freshly showered and you just start dripping in sweat.”
“I heard it’s going to get nicer and we are going to get a break on Saturday, so hopefully that will help,” she said.
Beachgoers in Cape May on Friday were either seeking shade from the sun under umbrellas or staying in the ocean, according to Cape May Beach Patrol Lt. Geoff Rife.
After dipping below 60 degrees earlier this month, ocean temperatures have warmed up over the last week into the 70s, but the water was still offering welcome relief.
“Visitors are still coming down to the beach and are not staying home in the A/C,” Rife said. “There were about three heat-exhaustion calls in the past 10 days, but that’s not as many as we could have had.”
He said lifeguards along the beach are being “preached at” every morning about eating properly at night and staying hydrated during the day. In addition, they are encouraged to speak to visitors and pass on tips and best practices for staying safe in the heat.
At about 10:30 a.m. Friday, Keith Craig, of Ventnor Heights, was out mowing his lawn.
“Today of all days, because I kept putting it off because it’s hot, but mostly the grass is burned and there are weeds and it’s just a matter of appearances,” Craig said. “I thought I’ll try to get out early, but early doesn’t work. It’s just brutal. I was expecting the breeze to kick in, but the breeze is hot.”
He said he has managed to survive the week without using the air conditioner by just keeping the windows open in his house. He added he visited the mainland during the week and it was much hotter there.
Angelo Olevares, 25, of Vineland, was working with a construction crew on a home in Longport Friday morning.
“It’s really hot but I have no choice,” he said.
Olevares said out in Longport it feels like 85 degrees, but in Vineland it is much hotter and feels like more than 100 degrees. If he had a choice, he would rather be swimming in the ocean than working, he said.
Naeem Khan, 30, of Galloway Township, is a gas station attendant and said he would rather be outside in the winter than during this heat.
Khan works for about 10 to 12 hours per day in the heat and said he tries not to think about it.
“I have to work, there are bills to pay,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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