First Alert Weather In-Depth: The city vs. the countryside

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Do you get the sense in the middle of the summer it often feels much hotter in the city than in the countryside? That is an actual phenomenon which is called the urban heat island effect. I know it is real because myself, and a group of my fellow students, tested this as an experiment when I was a student at SUNY Brockport (a long time ago). Given a day when Lake Ontario is not having an influence on the temperature, the heat will build through the day, and by the evening the countryside will actually cool down much faster than the city. The tendency is for the core of the center city to hold on to the heat for a much longer period of time. This heat will emanate from the cars, buildings, asphalt and the dark rooftops. The urban area will retain the heat well into the evening. And for some of us it can get pretty darn uncomfortable. Often there is a difference temperature by as much as 10 degrees.

So how do you stay cool especially when there is no air conditioning? Obviously you want to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Wear light colored clothing and avoid strenuous activities. If you want to get out and exercise, try to do it in the early morning or the evening. And never, ever, leave the pets or children in a hot car.

Inside your home make sure that the air conditioning is working properly. If you feel the heat is taking a toll on you, treat yourself to a cool shower. That will help cool down the body temperature. Make sure you have good weatherstripping on the doors and the windows. This will keep the heat out and the cool air in.  And it is always a good idea to check on some of those older neighbors, especially folks that may not have working AC.