We live in different worlds

By Alex P. Vidal

“We’ve been given a warning by science and a wake-up call by nature; it is up to us now to heed them.”—Bill McKibben

WHILE the Philippines was being battered by Typhoon Doksuri (Egay) and many areas have been inundated by floods according to the news I monitored as of July 27, a scorching weather along with high humidity was coming to New York City starting July 27 (Thursday), with the city under a heat warning and “feels like” temperatures of over 100 degrees forecast in the coming days.

It seems that as a result of the climate change, we are now living in different worlds.

But between a typhoon and extreme heat, I prefer the former. Although I grew up in a tropical country, I have been used to dealing with storms and flash floods even when I was a kid. I would not survive in the deserts.

New York City has a unique weather. Like other dense urban areas, the Big Apple is warmer than its rural and suburban surroundings.

As greenhouse gas emissions cause the planet to warm, New York City will experience more frequent, longer lasting, and more intense heat waves, according to the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ).

“The average number of days a year above 90°F will likely triple by the 2050s and quadruple by the 2080s. Sustained exposure to high temperatures can harm public health, including dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat-stroke, and even death,” MOCEJ predicts.

“In fact, extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related fatalities across the country. In New York City, on average each year, there are approximately 370 heat-related deaths. But all heat

deaths are preventable.”


Effective from 11 o’clock in the morning until July 28 (Friday) at 9 o’clock in the evening, though that could be extended, the National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the Big Apple.

We have been alerted as early as July 26 (Wednesday) that the city would bake with heat indices predicted to rise to over 105 degrees on both Thursday and Friday, with no relief from the potentially dangerous heat wave until July 30 (Sunday).

In a statement, New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned us, “That’s serious heat, so don’t underestimate it.”

Authorities also warned that heat could have deadly health impacts, especially on older adults and those with chronic health conditions. On average, it was learned that over 100 people suffer heat-related deaths in New York City every year.

“This is extreme even for some of the parts of our country where we’re seeing these numbers, but for New York State, this is highly unusual,” Governor Cathy Hochul said, warning us to take precautions. “And at this time, we’re putting out heat advisories that’ll be in effect all the way through Friday night.”

In an unrelated press conference on July 26, Adams said the heat advisory would likely be extended through July 29 (Saturday) as the scorching heat continues.

To help mitigate the heat wave, Adams said the city would be opening 500 cooling centers across the five boroughs starting July 27 (Thursday). We could seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned public spaces until they were expected to close on July 29 (Saturday).


We have been informed through a series of advisories the city’s list of open cooling centers would be online starting July 26 (Wednesday) evening. New Yorkers could also call 311 to find a center nearby.

Adams advised: “Make sure to check on your elderly neighbors or those dealing with breathing conditions so that we can look out of each other, and if you must be outside, take breaks, stay in the shade.”

All medium- and Olympic-size pools at city parks would be open an extra hour, until 8 p.m., from Thursday through Saturday, according to the Office of Emergency Management.

The mayor said the temperatures would start rising Thursday, with heat hanging in the 90s. The heat index value, which uses relative humidity to calculate how hot it feels outside, may rise to as high as 108.

Meanwhile, here what the New York Daily News reported on July 26:

“Cool winds will eventually push the heat down to more seasonal temperatures in the low 80s, but not until Sunday.

“Experts say it’s best to stay indoors with air conditioning, drink lots of water and wear lightweight clothing and sunscreen if you have to go outdoors to avoid any heat-related illness like heatstroke.

“The heat is especially dangerous to older adults and people with preexisting conditions including heart disease, lung disease, substance or alcohol abuse and mental health conditions.

“The last three weeks have been the hottest on the planet, and scientists warn of climate change’s impact making heat waves more and more common.

“The city’s public summer program is moving “strenuous activities” indoors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the heatwave and limiting all other outdoor happenings, officials announced on social media Wednesday night. Roughly 110,000 students in kindergarten through the eighth grade are participating in Summer Rising this year.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)