Staying safe from the heat while staying safe from COVID-19 for Fourth of July weekend

Author: Bradon Long

The hottest temperatures of the year combine with the new mandatory public mask order for Fourth of July.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — As we head into the holiday weekend, we’re no stranger to the hot and humid weather conditions that come along with it.

But the hottest temperatures of the year move into our area for the Fourth of July weekend, with heat index values ranging from the mid-90s to near 100° and the order from the Department of Health mandating masks in all public spaces. Staying safe from the heat while enjoying the holiday could be a little bit more complicated than usual.

“If they are uncomfortable wearing a mask because they get too hot, then maybe they should be inside instead of taking part in activities outside because we need people to wear those masks,” Nate Wardle, Press Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health said.

“If your family is going for walk, you don’t need to wear a mask. If you’re walking in a downtown area, or a very busy cart path, then you need to wear a mask,” Wardle said.

But if you do still venture out to celebrate the holiday, you will be greeted with hot and humid temperatures. Too much exposure without proper hydration could lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“When it’s humid out, the heat index is always higher than what the temperature is. That’s the number to watch,” Charles Ross with the National Weather Service in State College said. 

“The big things for this weekend are gonna be the heat exhaustion, the overdoing it, the not drinking enough fluids,” Ross said.

We all know the drill. Stay hydrated. Go inside and drink cold water if you’re feeling light-headed. Monitor your heart rate and be aware of your surroundings. Be ready to call 911 if you feel particularly unwell. You can find more information on the Department of Health website.

But another thing to consider this weekend will be the abundant sunshine combined with the heat. Burn time this weekend will be around 10-15 minutes for your skin because of a very high UV index value of 9.

By defintion, the UV Index is a measure of intensity of ultraviolet radiation from the sun at its highest point, rated on a scale of zero to 11. 9 is in the very high category.

“We need to have them wear sunscreen,” Wardle said.

In fact, you can find sunscreen for free in dispensers at state parks and beaches this weekend as well, in a Department of Health partnership with CDC funds and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

“They’re automated, just put your hand under it just like a hand sanitizer dispenser,” Wardle said.

Bottom line: limit time outside if possible and stay hydrated. Stay tuned to the FOX43 Weather Team. We’ll keep you Weather Smart for your holiday weekend.

‘Abnormally large dust cloud’ making 5,000-mile trek across Atlantic towards US accuweather

The dust cloud may also pose a possible health hazard to those living along the Gulf coast. Author: Adriana Navarro (AccuWeather) Published: 2:20 PM EDT June 19, 2020


Crimson sunrises and sunsets will paint the eastern Texas sky next week, most likely not as any ill omen for the remaining months of 2020, but from dust.

An “abnormally large dust cloud” from the Sahara is making about a 5,000-mile trek across the Atlantic, heralding the chance of red sunrises and sunsets across the Gulf Coast and suppressing tropical development in the Atlantic Basin. However, it may also pose a possible health hazard to those living along the Gulf coast. null

Although it isn’t uncommon for the Trade Winds to carry dust from the Sahara to the Gulf Coast, this plume has caught the attention of a few meteorologists.

“According to scientists that I have gotten some information from, they’re saying this is an abnormally large dust cloud,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and lead hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski told AccuWeather’s Jonathan Petramala. “One of the things I noticed from this is the dust started coming off the coast of Africa several days ago, in fact maybe over a week ago. And it’s still coming. It’s almost like a prolonged area of dust.” Satellite imagery of the dust plume from the Sahara trekking across the Atlantic toward the Americas on June 18, 2020. NOAA/GOES16

Dust making this journey from the Sahara to the Gulf Coast is common during June, July and sometimes into early August. Picked up by the Trade Winds and lofted higher up into the atmosphere, the dust gets trapped as the wind spirits it away across the Atlantic.

“This is the dusty time of the year,” Kottlowski said. This year, he believes a stronger-than-normal, or at least a very active, African easterly jet might be at play in spurring the abnormal dust plume.

As the dust is carried across the Atlantic, it tends to suppress tropical development.

“It keeps a lid on the atmosphere and brings dry air into anything that may try to develop, which is very detrimental for tropical development which relies on warm, moist air,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

However, dust is rarely a factor during the later months of the Atlantic hurricane season — August, September and October — when storms become more active.

“Dust tends to be much less of a problem during the heart of the hurricane season,” Kottlowski said.

However, while the dust can suppress development, it doesn’t kill any development entirely, Kottlowski warned. It’s still possible for a tropical wave to clear out a large area of the dust, allowing a second tropical wave following in its wake to take advantage of the break in the dust pattern.

There doesn’t seem to be a break in this dust pattern just yet though.

“I was amazed that the dust is still coming off the coast,” Kottlowski said. “You don’t see a break in it, so it’s just a sort of long-lasting area of dust. We’re going to see hazy skies across the Caribbean, probably into Florida into parts of the Gulf of Mexico area, probably for a week or two.”

The dust is expected to reach the Gulf Coast between Tuesday and Thursday of next week, Kottlowski estimated. With the hazy skies, the sun’s rays will have to bend around the dust particles as sunlight filters through the sky, creating vivid red sunrises and sunsets.

“It all depends on the concentration of the air particles or of the dust that will be there,” Kottlowski said. “But from what I’ve seen thus far, a fair amount of dust is going to get forced into the Texas coast into those areas, so they will see that.”

Volcanic ash and smoke from wildfires have had similar effects on how sunlight filters through the atmosphere at sunrise and sunset. The dust from the Sahara will spread out over a large area, from Florida to Louisiana and Texas, where Kottlowski expects the most dust to be seen.

While the dust will hang higher in the air, it can still pose a health concern. Should any of the fine dust combine with other particles in the air such as ozone or other dust particles or smoke, it could impact people who are more prone to respiratory issues, Kottlowski said. He expects there will be a few poor air quality reports out of eastern Texas next week.

Reporting by Jonathan Petramala.

Atlantic Hurricanes 2020: NOAA predicts busy season, 13-19 storms | nation-world

NOAA predicts ‘busy’ Atlantic hurricane season with 3-6 major storms

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and forecasters say it could be a busy one. Author: TEGNA Published: 12:01 PM EDT May 21, 2020


WASHINGTON — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters said Thursday that they expect the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season to be a busy one. 

The NOAA’s outlook predicts an above-normal season, which officially begins on June 1.

The NOAA predicts there will be 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (74 mph or higher). The NOAA forecasts that there could be between three to six major hurricanes (Storms that reach category 3 or above). 

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including three major ones.  

The NOAA said a combination of several factors, including the lack of El Nino conditions, along with warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, increases the likelihood for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.  A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA’s 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. NOAA

While the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, there’s already been one named storm. Tropical storm Arthur sent rain over North Carolina Monday. 

The storm represented another early start for the Atlantic hurricane season. Arthur formed Saturday in waters off Florida, marking the sixth straight year that a named storm has developed before June 1. A summary graphic showing an alphabetical list of the 2020 Atlantic tropical cyclone names as selected by the World Meteorological Organization. The first named storm of the season, Arthur, occurred in earlier in May before the NOAA’s outlook was announced. NOAA

The NOAA’s acting administrator said the agency’s analysis reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year. 

RELATED: Forecasters predicting ‘very active’ 2020 Atlantic season

RELATED: ‘No model is perfect’: A look at how coronavirus projections are made

“Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator.   

“As Americans focus their attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, it remains critically important that we also remember to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Just as in years past, NOAA experts will stay ahead of developing hurricanes and tropical storms and provide the forecasts and warnings we depend on to stay safe.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mother Nature is Fierce

Next week’s Arctic blast will be so cold, forecasters expect it to break 170 records across US

The temperature drop will be a three-day process as a cold front charges across central eastern U.S. High temperatures on Monday maybe stuck in the teens and twenties in the Midwest. Snow may also be in the forecast for portions of the eastern and even southern U.S. This week’s cold snap is only an appetizer compared with the main Arctic blast that’s coming next week meteorologists said. That freeze could be one for the record books. The National Weather Service is forecasting 170 potential daily record cold high temperatures Monday to Wednesday a little taste of January in November. The temperature nosedive will be a three-day process as a cold front charges across the Central and Eastern U.S. The front will plunge quickly through the northern Plains upper Midwest Sunday, into the southern Plains and Ohio Valley Monday, then through most of the East Coast and Deep South on Tuesday.

Continue reading here.

Update on Hurricane Lorenzo

Update on Tropical Storm Karen

Update on Hurricane Humberto

Update on Hurricane Humberto

Tropical storm Depression Strengthens to Tropical Storm Humberto

While satellite and surface data indicate that the system does not have a closed circulation, it will bring heavy rainfall and Gusty winds to portions of the Bahamas through Friday