The Capital Region's early summer heat wave is over.
The hot streak ended Thursday, after temperatures reached 92 degrees. Meteorologists define heat waves as three days or more in which high temperatures rise above 90 degrees.
On Friday, high temperatures hovered in the 80s. The National Weather Service at Albany recorded a high temperature of 86 degrees at 2:42 p.m.
All told, the weather service recorded six days of 90-degree highs, a streak that began on June 30. The stretch was the 20th-longest heat wave since the weather service began keeping records in the mid-1800s.
Meteorologist Ingrid Amberger said the wave began when the high temperature hit 94 on June 30. Then, highs of 97 degrees were recorded on both Sunday and Monday.
"It was 94 on the third of July, 96 on the fourth and 92 on Thursday," Amberger added.
Cooler air was expected to move into the region Friday night, with a high temperature Saturday around 80. Humidity levels also were expected to drop.
"On Sunday, it's going to start warming back up again," Amberger said. "We're looking at mid-80s, but we're not going to have the humidity we had. So despite it getting warmer, the humidity levels should be comfortable."
Monday's high will approach 90, Amberger added, but there will be no oppressive humidity.
People are less able to cool off at times of high humidity, when the air can feel tropical.
"It really changes the way heat feels," Amberger said. "It makes it a lot more oppressive and introduces more problems for people with breathing issues and chronic issues like that. When the humidity gets that high, it creates higher heat indexes."
The last time the Capital Region sweltered through a six-day heat wave was July 14-19, 2013.
There are three seven-day heat waves on record, two of which happened in July of 1988 and 1991.
The last five-day heat wave in the region happened July 5-9, 2011; the last four-day heat wave took place Aug. 11-14, 2016. The last three-day event was Sept. 24-26, 2017.
The longest heat wave on record happened in 1953, when the high temperature was 90 or hotter on 10 straight days -- between Aug. 27 and Sept. 5.
The 1953 wave brought the Capital Region's last 100-degree day: Sept. 3. The weather service has not recorded another 100-degree day since, nearly a 65-year stretch.
There have now been nine 90-degree days this summer -- including May 2, June 17 and June 18. And the season is a contrast to 2017, when only eight 90-degree days were recorded -- three of them in early autumn.
"We had two in May, three in June and then three in September," Amberger said of 2017. "We actually didn't have any in July and August."
People coped with the 90-plus numbers in different ways. In Glenville, town officials made sure residents knew they could use the Glenville Senior Center on Worden Road as a cooling center.
"People appreciated it," said Supervisor Chris Koetzle. "We didn't have a lot of guests come through other than the normal membership, but we had a handful of folks who came in for it. It was there for those who needed it."
At Niskayuna's town pool, there was not a dramatic increase in usage.
"I believe it has been so hot, most of our regulars have stayed home," said town Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw. "However, our staffing has been impacted. It has been so hot we've had to add an additional staff member per shift to allow more frequent water and cooling breaks for our lifeguards."
Amberger said July is usually the hottest month in the Capital Region. According to charts on the weather service website, July's normal average daytime high is 71.8 degrees.
The recent heat wave has at least driven up July average temperatures.
By average, the warmest July was recorded in 1868, when the average daily temperature was 79.7 degrees. Eight of the top 10 warmest July months took place in the 1800s; the other two occurred in 1921 and 1955, when daily averages both were 76.5 degrees.
Amberger said people will notice changes in temperatures Friday night. Lows were expected in the mid-50s, conditions that should allow people to open windows and turn off air conditioning systems.
"For some, it's refreshing," Amberger said. "Some people will rather have more heat. Everyone is different."
Contact Daily Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]