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Article updated: 7/17/2013 8:21 AM

Forecast calls for heat wave to continue

Marzio Vigliotti exhales as he waits for a co-worker while they assemble a ride at the Kane County Fairgrounds Tuesday in St. Charles. He is from South Africa and will be working the summer months for Fantasy Amusements. He said the rate of exchange makes his pay worth the work in the heat.

Marzio Vigliotti exhales as he waits for a co-worker while they assemble a ride at the Kane County Fairgrounds Tuesday in St. Charles. He is from South Africa and will be working the summer months for Fantasy Amusements. He said the rate of exchange makes his pay worth the work in the heat.

 

John Starks | Staff Photographer

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People should drink plenty of water, stay in the shade, and know where their local cooling center is because its going to be a hot one today.

Officials from the National Weather Service say temperatures will reach 94 degrees today, but humidity will make outside temperatures feel like more than 100 degrees.

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Hot air facts

1. Heat wave highlights
Temperatures in the Northeast are 5 to 10 degrees above normal, with New York City experiencing the highest above-normal temperatures of any place in the country. The hottest summer in U.S. history -- an average 73.83 degrees for the season -- occurred during the Dust Bowl in 1936. The 2011 and 2012 summers tied for second hottest but were only one-tenth of a degree cooler than the record.

2. Odd behavior
While the Northeast is burning up, Texas and Oklahoma recorded their all-time lowest temperatures for July 15. And in parts of Alaska, the readings were warmer Monday than parts of Texas. Alaska's eastern interior was in the low 80s, while Abeline, Texas, recorded a cool 68 degrees.

3. BAD HAIR WEEK

Besides making everyone uncomfortable, humidity is hard on a hairdo. Curly hair tends to frizz and flat hair tends to get, well, flatter. Alyssa Johnson of Pulse Beauty Academy near Philadelphia says the solution is to use special hair products to "seal" hair against the dense, moist air.

4. Baseball's hot air stats
It is not a myth but a matter of physics that baseballs fly farther in hot, humid air. Physics professor Alan Nathan of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explains. "The higher the temperature, the less air resistance, so the ball flies farther." Each increase in temperature by 10 degrees can increase the flight of a ball by 2 1/2 to 3 feet. A ball hit during the heat wave could fly 15 feet farther than a ball hit in 40-degree weather in, say, April in Chicago.

5. Hot phones not so smart
Most smartphones are designed to withstand extreme temperatures -- many of them shut themselves down when they sense too much heat. But the batteries that power phones are still fairly vulnerable. Engineering professor Yury Gogotsi at Drexel University says high temperatures can cause batteries to die faster than normal and can lower a battery's life expectancy.

The same weather can be expected Thursday and into Friday, when a possible thunderstorm rolls in to cool things off.

During this latest heat wave, people are urged to drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks while working outside to avoid heat illnesses.

Those who have to work outside should also watch what they eat this morning, stay out of direct sun as much as possible and stay near an air-conditioned place to cool off if needed.

People should also schedule outside activities for early morning or late afternoon, and wear light-colored, loose fit clothing.

For more information, check out the National Weather Service forecast.

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