New York City
The New York City skyline AFP

New York City is opening cooling centers across the metro area as a heat wave that could see temperature feel like 100 degrees Fahrenheit begins.

City officials said the stations could remain open until at least Friday, with the city's emergency management commissioner, Zachary Ischol, saying the conditions are potentially deadly.

"The cumulative effect of prolonged heat can be especially dangerous as the body's ability to regulate temperature becomes increasingly strained," Iscol said at a press briefing on Monday. "In fact, extreme heat is the most dangerous weather phenomenon we have in New York City. We lose over 350 New Yorkers a year on average to heat."

Stations are located at community centers, libraries and NYCHA facilities. They were expanded this year to include cultural institutions and elected officials' offices. Iscol encouraged people to use them especially if they don't have air conditioning at home.

This summer could be the hottest in New York City history, surpassing 2023, which is currently the hottest on record. New York City Mayor Eric Adams said residents should anticipate more such events as the effects of climate change increasingly impact the population.

"With climate change leading to more frequent and intense heat, summers are different than they were before, and so we should expect and be prepared for the hot weather that is coming," he said. "If this is any indication, we're just starting out the summer months, we could only expect even more as the summer continues to move forward," Adams added.

The city will also distribute kits with essential safety items to outdoor workers, said Adams. City beaches are set to remain open during the heat wave, but pools won't open before June 27 because they need to make the necessary preparations.

Large swaths of the country brace for extreme heat over the week, with 72 million people under such warnings, according to the National Weather Service.

"The duration of this heat wave is notable and potentially the longest experienced in decades for some locations," the federal Weather Prediction Center said, according to NBC News. Forecasters added that temperatures will be as much as 25 degrees Farenheit above normal for many areas under this summer system.

Other areas of the country have been affected by heat domes in the past weeks, with Texas, Arizona and Florida also seeing record temperatures for this part of the year. Last week, six migrants died late last week while attempting to enter to the United States through the southern border, The Guardian reported.

Arizona authorities, on their end, are resorting to ice baths in hopes of saving heat stroke victims in a city that has seen hundreds of heat-related deaths last year. Starting this season, the hottest big city in the country will implement the measure as a go-to protocol while taking victims to the hospital.

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