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It's officially a heat wave

It's officially a heat wave

Jumpin' Jack's and Hattie's close their kitchens
It's officially a heat wave
Bryan Case of Greenwich flips into the Victoria Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park on Monday.
Photographer: Erica Miller

CAPITAL REGION -- The thermometer hit 97 degrees for the second straight day on Monday and topped 90 for the third day, making the current sweltering weather an official heat wave.

By definition, three days in a row of temperatures above 90 degrees constitutes a heat wave.

At least two Capital Region eateries closed their cooking areas on Monday rather than have employees work in triple-digit kitchen temperatures.

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Jumpin' Jack's -- the iconic summer drive-in in Scotia -- took the unprecedented step of closing its food service at 1 p.m. Sunday. It kept it closed on Monday for the health of employees who work around grills and fryers. Its ice cream business, which is in a separate building, was booming.

Hattie's Restaurant in Saratoga Springs also closed after kitchen temperatures in the restaurant specializing in fried chicken hit 120-degrees, according to the restaurant's website.

We're only halfway through the blast of hot and humid air, though. The National Weather Service in Albany is predicting high temperatures in the 90s through Thursday, with a cool front arriving and knocking daytime highs back into the mid-80s on Friday and into the weekend.

The record for July 2 at Albany was 98 degrees, and early in the day meteorologists thought that record might be tied or broken.

Also Tuesday:

Monday's official high temperature turned out to be 97 degrees, one degree short of the record set in 1966. While Monday may be the hottest day this week, temperatures in the mid-90s are expected to continue through Thursday, making for a six-day heat wave. Last Friday hit 89 degrees, just one degree short of starting what could have been the first seven-day heat wave since 1991.

A weather service heat warning, which indicates the combined heat and humidity made it feel like 105 degrees of more, was in effect Monday. The weather service has issued a heat advisory, which is one step short of a warning, for Tuesday through 8 p.m. Tuesday's forecast high is 94, with a heat index of around 100.

"We've only ever had 11 six-day heat waves on record in Albany, so it's definitely very rare to have one extended this long," said Joe Cebulko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany. The last six-day streak was from July 14-19, 2013.

During a heat wave, individuals should limit strenuous outdoor physical activity. Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to heat-related illness, along with those who have respiratory diseases such as asthma.

National Grid, meanwhile, asked customers to conserve electricity, as air conditions draw on the power supply.

"National Grid is asking upstate New York customers to reduce unnecessary electricity usage for the remainder of the week," spokesman Nate Stone said. "Electricity supply to the area is adequate, but heavy demand and high temperatures could potentially challenge regional networks."

People also need to be cognizant of the needs of their pets, which are also feeling the heat and humidity.

"They're going to be panting, just releasing the heat," said Dr. Paul Hartman of the Union Street Veterinary Hospital in Schenectady. "You definitely need to give them water and get them out of the sun. They should have access to shade, and they shouldn't be exercised during this heat. Particularly if you've got an overweight animal, they're not going to tolerate heat as well."

When under heat stress, animals like dogs start to pant excessively, and they can have seizures. But Hartman said he hasn't seen a case of animal heat stroke in several years. "I think people have gotten wise and if they're hot, they're keeping their pets with them," he said. "People are pretty tuned in to what to do."

Also Tuesday:

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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