Capital Region

Early September hot streak to end by weekend

'At night, it's going to be down in the lower 50s by Sunday morning'
Spectators use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun while watching the Ballston Spa varsity boys soccer team Tuesday
Spectators use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun while watching the Ballston Spa varsity boys soccer team Tuesday

Categories: News, Schenectady County

Capital Region residents will feel Thursday morning heat and humidity.

But by Sunday, people could be wearing jackets and sweatshirts.

Relief will be welcomed by many who have suffered through one of the warmest summers on record. They sweltered Wednesday; the temperature reached 92 at 3:24 p.m., a new record for the day.

The old record of 91 degrees was set in 1973.

“It looks like high temperatures will only be in the low to mid-70s Friday through Sunday,” said Kevin Lipton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany. “If there are any clouds around, it may actually stay in the 60s on Sunday.

“At night, it’s going to be down in the lower 50s by Sunday morning,” Lipton added. “So, there is relief in sight, at least in the immediate future.”

Lipton said meteorologists measure summer from June through August. The average high temperature this summer was 73.2 – tied for 9th place on the all-time warmest list.

The 73.2 average also was recorded in 1900. The top two warmest summers were 1872 and 1873, when the average high temperatures were 76.4 and 74.5 degrees, respectively.

The normal high temperature for summer months is 69.7 degrees.

Lipton said the temperature reached 90 or hotter on 16 days during the summer months — the longest heat wave happened around the 4th of July, when temperatures were near 100. 

Outside of summer, one day in May also reached 90. When the temperature reached 90 at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at Albany International Airport, meteorologists recorded the 18th 90-degree day of 2018.

Hot temperatures also took a toll on school districts this week, as students returned to class. With a recorded heat index of 96 degrees, all outdoor practices and games were canceled or postponed Wednesday afternoon, under state rules.

In classrooms around the region, many of which are not air conditioned, teachers and administrators sought to keep the heat out by opening windows, running fans and limiting the use of overhead lights. They also provided access to water and encouraged students to keep hydrated.

The state’s largest teachers union, New York State United Teachers, received reports from teachers around the state about hot classrooms.

The union also used the warm back-to-school weather to point out legislation it supported during the last session that would have required districts to keep classroom temperatures no higher than 82 degrees, down from 90 degrees allowed under current rules.

The union cited the challenges of teaching students in hot rooms; students are distracted, teachers are concerned and medical conditions may be exacerbated. The bill did not make it out of either the Senate or Assembly education committees. 

“Although it’s just the first week of school, it is already too hot for teachers and students to learn,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said in a prepared statement.

Heat will fade when a cold front moves in from the Great Lakes region.

“That will be tracking through us [Thursday],” Lipton said. “It looks like some scattered showers and thunderstorms with that. It looks like the front comes through here kind of midday, so in terms of any stronger or severe threats, it looks like it will be mainly south and east of Albany.”

For some, hot weather — and a longer summer — is good for business.

“It was big every day,” said Wes Guptill, general manager of Guptill’s Coney Express ice cream in Latham. “With that high humidity, even the nights stayed very hot, and we do a lot of business after dinner.”

Guptill said school openings are also good for sales.

“Once the kids are home from school, people will use ice cream to reward their children for the first day of school,” he said.

Coney Express will remain open until Nov. 4.

Dan Cracco, who owns Dairy Haus in Saratoga Springs, plans to serve cones, shakes and sundaes until Halloween.

“Our nights can still get busy,” Cracco said. “This is perfect weather right now.”

We may not be done with hot weather, though, as Lipton pointed out the Capital Region weathered a heat wave in late September 2017.

“In fact, some of our long-term guidance does suggest temperatures return back above normal by the middle and end of next week,” Lipton said. “Maybe not necessarily as hot as it’s been, but certainly well above normal, potentially.

“We can’t rule out some upper 80s or near 90 at some point in the next few weeks.”

Daily Gazette reporter Zachary Matson contributed to this story. Contact Daily Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]


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