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NEWS

Dangerous levels of heat and humidity headed to RI next week

The temperature should climb into the 80s Thursday and Friday, and after a comfortable weekend, temperatures could reach the 90s next week

Jack Perry
Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE − It might be time to put those air conditioners in the windows, as southern New England is likely to start feeling the heat.

The temperature in the Providence area is expected to climb into the mid-80s Thursday and Friday. After cooler weather over the weekend, the region could see an extended period of hot and humid weather starting next Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A "warming trend begins next week with the potential for [high] heat and humidity ... Tuesday through Thursday," the weather service says in its

This National Weather Service map shows much of the Northeast, including the northwestern section of Rhode Island, at moderate risk for heat, while areas along the coast are at minor risk. Moderate risk affects most people sensitive to heat, especially those without effective cooling, adequate hydration or both, the weather service says.

The temperature could reach well into the 90s for at least one or two days in some parts of Southern New England and may reach 100 degrees in "some spots," the weather service says.

Why is the temperature spiking in RI? What's behind the science?

. "For many, this will be the first heat wave of the year," said AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.

Does that mean Providence will see its first 90-degree day of the year, even its first heat wave, which is three or more consecutive days of 90 degrees or above?

It's difficult to forecast this far in advance since Providence temperatures are often cooled by a sea breeze, said Bill Leatham, a meteorologist for the weather service in Norton, Massachusetts. The hottest temperatures are, as usual, expected to be away from the coast.

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How hot is Rhode Island expected to get this week?

As of Wednesday morning, the weather service's website shows daily temperature forecasts through only Tuesday of next week, when it's forecasting a high of 89 in Providence.

Providence had just one 90-degree day last year, when it reached 92 on Sept. 7. The highest temperature so far this year is 88 degrees, reached on April 13.

Next week, humidity will accompany the heat, and it could reach dangerous levels, according to Leatham.

"Even if you don't hit 90 in Providence, the combination of heat and humidity levels will make it so there's a risk for heat stroke" and other heat-related ailments, he said.

shows people in the northern part of Rhode Island at moderate risk in the heat while people in the rest of the state would be at minor risk next Tuesday.

How long will the heat last?

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The hot spell is expected to last through Thursday, but there are signs it could extend beyond that, according to Leatham.

Leatham says people should stay hydrated and make sure they have a cool place to get out of the heat. He also advises keeping an eye on pets and checking on elderly relatives and neighbors.