Warwick warms up as heat wave starts summer

Posted 6/20/24

The first day of summer comes with a hot welcome for Warwick residents.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory from noon Wednesday to 7 p.m. Friday due to rising temperatures and …

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Warwick warms up as heat wave starts summer


The first day of summer comes with a hot welcome for Warwick residents.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory from noon Wednesday to 7 p.m. Friday due to rising temperatures and high humidity. Since Tuesday, the heat index has neared triple digits.

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) has designated two cooling centers in the City of Warwick: Pilgrim Senior Center and Warwick Public Library - Central. Cooling centers are air-conditioned spaces open to the public to seek shelter during extreme heat. During the heat advisory this week, these cooling centers will be open during their regular hours.

The library is open from 9-5 p.m., and the senior center is open from 8:30-4:30 p.m. Both buildings were closed on Wednesday because of the Federal Holiday Juneteenth.

Not only are the cooling centers relief from the heat, but they also offer a series of exciting activities throughout the week. On Thursday, the Warwick Public Library is hosts a food allergies workshop presented by RI Food Bank at the Central Library and crochet club and lessons at the Conimicut branch. On Saturday, the Summer Reading Challenge Kickoff Event will be held at the Central library. At the Pilgrim Senior Center, you can find various activities such as yoga, zumba, arts and crafts, and games during the week.

Joseph Wendelken, public information officer at the Rhode Island Department of Health, recommended residents prepare for the heat. “If outside, do what you can to stay out of the direct sun, wear a hat with a brim, and apply sunscreen,” he said.

“Water is key,” Wendelken added, suggesting people avoid caffeine and alcohol.

“I think for most people, it's an inconvenience,” said Tony Petrarca, chief meteorologist for WPRI-TV. “But, there are certain people and specifically young children, the elderly, people who have health issues, it becomes more of a concern.”

“What makes heat around here dangerous is that it comes with a lot of humidity,” he added. “Your body has a very difficult time cooling itself off where the humidity is high.”

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can often occur during a heat advisory. According to RIEMA, symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, thirst, heavy sweating, nausea, and weakness. If someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, they should be moved to a cooler area, sip water, and loosen clothing. If symptoms do not improve, those in need should seek medical attention through emergency services at 911 because heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

“Just check in on each other,” he added. “Make sure they stay hydrated.”

Beverly Wiley, Warwick Director of Parks and Recreation , notes that Warwick  beaches are popular places to cool off during the heat, and often get visitors from various other cities and towns. The Warwick beaches opened for the summer season on Saturday, June 15. There are lifeguards working at City Park Beach and Oakland Beach. These beaches can be a more convenient and less expensive option than those in South County. For those who prefer a pool to the beach, McDermott Pool is open during their regular hours. McDermott has a unique indoor/outdoor element because the garage doors can be opened for airflow, Wiley said.

Petrarca, who was raised in Warwick, remembers going to Conimicut Point and Oakland Beach or leaving for the South Shore to escape hot temperatures. “There's some advantage of growing up in Warwick and being right on the water,” he said, with the city having “just enough of that sea breeze to take the edge off.”

At Conimicut Point, beachgoers are soaking up the sun on both sides of the point. Susie Bourdeau and Deb Saccoccio came to the beach Wednesday. Bourdeau says she tries to “arrange the house to be as cool as possible” by maximizing air circulation with open windows. Saccoccio advises getting up early in the morning to complete outdoor activities like mowing the lawn.

Kathleen Kosberg and her fellow teacher from Massachusetts brought their children to Conimicut Point on Juneteenth because they couldn’t bear the traffic down to the state beaches in Narragansett. Other than going to the beach, she says there “are not a lot of options” for activities in the heat.

Petrarca warned this current heat wave “can be a signal of things to come.” It’s not rare for temperatures to climb into the 90s — it happens about half a dozen times each summer. But, “It may be more frequent this summer,” he added. “We're anticipating a warmer-than-average summer.”

heat, weather


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