SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The record-setting temperatures may continue on Friday with highs in the upper 80s, which presents a few safety hazards this time of year.
With temperatures this high there is an increased risk for brush fires to start and burn out of control. Springfield firefighters were called to action at Blunt Park on Thursday for a fire that spread to 10 acres on the south side of the park near the Raymond Jordan Senior Center.
The fire required assistance from three nearby departments and was just one of several in western Massachusetts over the last few days. Extreme heat and the relatively low humidity we have been enjoying dry out natural fuel for fires and everyone bursting outdoors raises the risk of sparks from smoking or grilling.
The NWS does not have Massachusetts under a Red Flag Warning today as it did for the last few days… but that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t there. Nearby in Rhode Island, the national guard had to be called in Wednesday to help contain a brush fire that spread to more than 150 acres.
Now, these extreme April temps will peak Friday afternoon near 90, which will drive people to pools, ponds, and lakes. If you’re going for a natural swimming spot, be mindful of the water temperature.
According to the National Weather Service, cold water drains body heat four times faster than cold air. Safe swimming temperatures are typically above 70 degrees. To be comfortable, it’s really got to be 80.
Around New England on Friday, water temperatures max out at 49-degrees along the coast.
and won’t be much higher inland. If you are swimming on Friday, be mindful of the effects cold water can have on your body and brain.
Cold Shock when you hit the water can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of drowning. The cold snap also slows down your decision-making and ability to act, and prolonged exposure can lead to muscle failure and hypothermia. Even on hot days. Lifejackets vastly increase the chance of survival in these scenarios.