When does 92 degrees feel cool? The day after 100.
Temperatures cooled a bit Thursday along parts of the East Coast that have been suffering under a blistering heat wave this week, but it might be too early to get out of the pool just yet. The National Weather Service still has heat advisories out for much of the region.
Even though in most places the mercury wasn’t flirting with triple digits Thursday, the humidity was forecast to be stifling in places such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. Because of that, the weather service warned that it might not feel any different outside there than it has in the past few days.
The heat shifted south Thursday and heat advisories went out for parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Heat is the top weather-related killer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On average more than 1,500 people die in the United States each year from excessive heat, it says.
On Thursday, outdoor workers and firefighters took extra precautions.
Chuck Zurschmeide, a roofer in Louisville, Kentucky, started working at 3:30 in the morning to beat the heat, which was expected to reach 96 degrees there Thursday. Before 10 a.m., he was back in his truck for a blast of cool air. In his 28 years as a roofer, he said, this is the hottest he has seen.
“You got to understand, with that hot tar you’re working with, it’s probably about 150 degrees,” said Zurschmeide, who was tackling a high school roofing project. “What’s bad about the hot tar is you got to have gloves on and long-sleeved shirts on, Makes it even hotter.”
He told his guys to take breaks on shady ground and put a cool rag on their heads.
“I won’t let anybody die on a roof. It just ain’t worth it,” he said.
Five consecutive days of roasting temperatures have claimed at least two lives — an elderly woman in Pennsylvania and a Maryland resident found inside a home with a temperature higher than 90 degrees.
And highs above the 100-degree mark were recorded Wednesday from New York City to Richmond, Virginia.