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.