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Are You Ready For THE INFERNO?

During this heat wave, you too may feel as if you're being engulfed in flames
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During this heat wave, you too may feel as if you're being engulfed in flames Ludovic Bertron/Flickr

For the past week or so, New Yorkers have luxuriated in uncommonly reasonable temps and groused at beach day-dampening rain. Perhaps this break in the pitiless humidity and scorching heat made you wonder if summer might slink out early, clearing space for the best and most elusive season (fall) to settle in. Wrong! So wrong. Once again, the city teeters on the brink of a gaping inferno, with the heat index threatening to climb above 100 degrees between today and Wednesday. That's right, the air could feel as hot as—possibly even hotter than—a feverish human body!!!

To help New Yorkers escape the feeling of being roasted alive on sweltering subway platforms, Governor Andrew Cuomo recommends we clear time in our schedules to take a dip.

"With a potential heat wave in the forecast, I urge all New Yorkers to take any necessary precautions and visit one of the many pools, beaches and cooling stations available in our state parks," Cuomo said in a press release. "Be sure to check on neighbors who may be at risk and limit strenuous activity to ensure that you and your family remain safe and healthy during this stretch of extreme heat."

Cuomo's extreme heat warning extends throughout the state, but across our city's five boroughs, the heat index is expected to hover between 94 and 104 degrees. A heat advisory will be in effect from 11 a.m. on Tuesday to 9 p.m. on Wednesday: The National Weather Service urges us all to seek air-conditioned shelter, pointing out that, in the absence of AC, indoor temperatures can exceed that of this outdoor oven. Libraries, community centers, senior centers, and NYCHA housing all qualify as city-sanctioned cooling centers. And for those of you without climate controlled apartments, consider creating cool, dark pockets in your home so your poor boiling pets can wait out this firestorm with water and fans.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, humidity may stagnate around 60 percent, rising in the second half of the week when the rain sets in. (I regret to report that, from this vantage, Labor Day looks gloomy indeed, although The Weather is an infamously petulant child capable of changing its mind on a dime.) One fun thing about heavy humidity and body-temperature air is that the combination makes it virtually impossible for our biological cooling systems to function normally, because sweat can't evaporate into moisture-saturated air. Forecast: Stifling sweat blankets ahead. See you in hell, friends!

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