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Environment & Science

Lehigh Valley under heat advisory, air quality alert to start week

Heat index graphic National Weather Service
National Weather Service
Heat indexes are creeping up again Sunday, July 7, 2024, across much of the region, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters put another heat advisory in place for the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas from 10 a.m. Monday, July 8, to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 9.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — High temperatures are expected to sweep the area again early this week.

Monday and Tuesday could see heat index values upward of 102 degrees, according to a heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service.

It's the second advisory in two days — on Friday the weather service warned of "feels like" temperatures of 100 to 104 degrees across the region through Saturday night.

Sunday offered somewhat of a break from the steamiest temperatures, clocking in at 90 degrees, with a heat index of 92.

This week's advisory — which is in place from 10 a.m. Monday to 8 p.m. Tuesday — covers Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties.

The advisory also warns of higher potential for heat-related illness as high temperatures increase humidity throughout the area.

The heat advisory — in place from 10 a.m. Monday to 8 p.m. Tuesday — covers Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties.
National Weather Service

Graphics from the weather service show air temperatures as high as 94 degrees in Philadelphia on Sunday, translating to 97 degrees in the heat index.

High temperatures in the Lehigh Valley will be in the 90s through Wednesday, according to the weather service forecast. Highs will hit 94 Monday and Tuesday and 91 on Wednesday. Thursday's forecast calls for heavy rain and a high of 87.

To mediate risks of heat-related illness, the Red Cross recommends drinking water and avoiding caffeinated drinks, in addition to limiting time outdoors.

By late Sunday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a "code orange" air quality alert Monday for the Lehigh Valley and Berks County area.

That alert — which locally ends at midnight Monday into Tuesday — stretches into nearby parts of New Jersey, too.

A code orange air quality alert means air pollution concentrations within the area may become unhealthy for sensitive groups, like children, elderly, those with asthma, heat disease or other lung disease.

The Lehigh Valley is actively monitoring air pollution across the region through its Lehigh Valley Breathes project. Last month's report from the project found that fine particle pollution spread is impacted by temperature inversions and wind speed.

Poor air quality effects can be minimized by reducing outdoor activities and exposure, the warning said.

The National Weather Service also advises against burning debris or other items during an air quality alert, as well as limiting usage of items that increase pollution.