Tips for an enjoyable summer

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As the summer 2018 season kicks off, our weather seems to be close to normal for this time of year.

Temperatures feel great in the 80's with lots of sunshine to enjoy outdoors.

Of course, this comes after a pretty cooler than normal springtime with temperatures slow to warm up at first.

Fortunately, we saw a warm up through May.

Our last snowfall of the season was on April 2, and totaled 5.5 inches.

For this time of the year, temperatures are expected to rest in the lower 80's for the city and it’s boroughs, and with the summer weather encouraging outdoor activities, it is important to stay safe.

For one, the sun is strongest at this time of year due to its high angle at the time of the summer solstice. The summer solstice occurs when the Earth’s tilt is angled at its maximum toward the sun. The Earth’s tilt is only 23.5 degrees from the relative vertical of the solar system, and thus rotates on this axis. The graphic below explains the axis of rotation:

When the orbit of the Earth moves to the other side of the Sun, roughly 182 days later, the axis is facing away from the Sun in the northern hemisphere, thus putting us in winter.

June 21 is the longest day of the year.

Unfortunately the days begin to get shorter and shorter each day until winter begins in December.

The abundance of sunshine comes with some hazards and sun safety is extremely important. The sun’s strength is calculated into a “UV Index” that indicates the intensity of radiation. Radiation from the sun doesn’t only come in the form of heat, but also can be damaging to our skin.

Although it is nice to sit in the sun, the Environmental Protection Agency advises that sun screen or shade should be used whenever sitting in direct sunlight. Sunburn and skin damage occurs easily in summer days when the sun is strongest between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Remember, the summer season means that the sun is at a higher angle, which focuses a greater amount of radiation onto any given point below.

For example, when the UV Index is of a 9, it’s important to seek shade and to protect your skin.

To ensure proper sun protection while using sun screen, please follow the instructions indicated on the individual product for best safety against skin damage and sun burn.

Sun screen pills are not real, local officials recently warned, so it is best to stick to topical applications.

It is important to stay safe at the beaches, too, and this comes with the risk for rip currents. Rip currents is a flowing channel of water that rushes away from the shore between breaking waves. They can be spotted if you have a good view of the shoreline, and they usually form between breaking waves or near jetties. They can form from winds or from swells of a storm hundreds of miles away.

If caught in a rip current, you will not be pulled under the water. A rip current is not an undertow nor is it associated with a tide.

They will pull you out – away from shore.

In the event of a rip current pulling you away, try not to fight the current or panic, as that will cause you to drown. Follow these steps:

It is important to listen to lifeguards and to not swim without one. Also, do not swim when lifeguards say not to! Better safe than sorry!

Lastly, summer comes with days of poor air quality. Air quality becomes poor on hot and humid days where pollution levels skyrocket and the air becomes stagnant. Pollution rises because of the use of machines like air conditions and vehicles. Some pollution reacts to the sunlight to become more abundant and prominent through photochemical reactions.

Such stifling air can create unhealthy breathing conditions. When there is an Air Quality Alert issued, that means that groups of people with respiratory and heart conditions may experience difficulties such as shortness of breath or feelings of faintness.

When experiencing symptoms of poor air quality, heat, and humidity, it is very important that this individual seeks a cool indoor environment. Remaining hydrated also remedies symptoms.

Air Quality is usually poorest from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. when it is hot and humid.

Summertime also comes with the threat of hurricanes, and the hurricane season already began on June 1, but this year’s season is expected to be near or slightly above normal, according to News 12 meteorologists. 

So as the summer season begins, stay safe, have fun, and enjoy the weather.

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