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CNY heat wave is unusually lengthy and extreme

The Thornden Park pool.
City of Syracuse
The Thornden Park pool.

The heat wave impacting Central New York is a scorcher. Mark Pellerito is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service who monitors south and central New York.

“You know, 95° on a hot day, that's not unheard of," Pellerito said. "Getting three consecutive days of 95 plus? The last time that occurred was in the drought year of 1988.”

That’s exactly what’s happening this week. The temperature is peaking now through Thursday and will barely let up after the sun goes down.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo warns a heat dome will stick temperatures in the mid-seventies overnight.

Pellerito warns everyone should take it seriously.

“When people think of deadly weather, extreme weather, the first thing that comes to mind is the tornado they saw, or the big hurricane, or even lightning," Pellerito said. "But heat, the silent killer is the number one weather killer.”

In 2023, the National Weather Service, reports more people died from heat-related causes than tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding combined.


Emergency crews across the region are preparing to deal with high numbers of dehydration calls over the next few days. Residents are asked to stay in doors and limit outdoor work, especially during the midday and late afternoon hours.

Nurse Practitioner with Onondaga County Stacy Fontana warns of symptoms when temperatures climb above 78 degrees.

"First signs are heat exhaustion, so you may start to feel dizzy, excessively sweaty, weak, and thirsty," Fontana said. "At that point, you want to move out of the sun into a cooler area and sip cool water. If you don't start to feel better or get worse, call 911."

Onondaga County's senior centers are offering respite as cooling centers, staying open longer hours. County Executive Ryan McMahon says there are other options for families.

"Our libraries are here for residents to cool off," McMahon said. "Destiny USA is a designated cooling center. Our parks department is extending hours at Oneida Shores and Jamesville Beaches until 8 p.m. throughout the week."

McMahon also urges residents to check on vulnerable friends and neighbors who may not have air conditioning or may not be able to help themselves.


Syracuse residents seeking relief from the heatwave can find it at a handful of city pools starting this week. The city begins opening pools Tuesday on a rolling basis, starting with Schiller Park. Kirk Park pool opens Wednesday and Upper Onondaga Park on Thursday. Mayor Walsh says not every city pool has been open in recent years due to repairs, lack of lifeguards, and other reasons.

“I'm pleased to report that all city pools will be open this summer," Walsh said "It's the second summer in a row since the pandemic that we've had all pools open and it's the first summer since the pandemic where we have also we will also be offering outdoor swimming lessons.”

 Walsh says they’ve hired enough lifeguards to staff every pool and offer those lessons, but he says they can always use more. All pools will be open by June 30th and remain open into mid-August, when Walsh says most of their lifeguards return to college. More information can be found here.

Pool opening dates for the summer are:

  • Tuesday, June 18: Schiller Park Pool
  • Wednesday, June 19: Kirk Park Pool
  • Thursday, June 20: Upper Onondaga Park Pool
  • Friday, June 21: Thornden Park Pool
  • Sunday, June 23: Lincoln Park Pool
  • Monday, June 24: McKinley Park Pool
  • Tuesday, June 25: Burnet Park Pool
  • Sunday, June 30: Wilson Park Pool
The Union Park spray pad in Syracuse.
City of Syracuse
The Union Park spray pad in Syracuse.


The City of Syracuse is opening cooling spots at two community centers. Mayor Ben Walsh says the Cecile Community Center on Seneca Turnpike and the Magnarelli Center on Grant Boulevard are open through Friday 11 to 8. He says non-profit organizations helping the homeless are doing wellness checks, distributing water, and encouraging people to use indoor shelters.


Syracuse fire and water department officials are warning residents against opening fire hydrants to seek relief from the high temperatures. Fire Chief Michael Monds says open hydrants reduce water pressure which can limit their ability to fight fires. Water Commissioner Joe Awald says it’s wasteful and can interrupt water service for entire neighborhoods. Opening a hydrant is a civil penalty subject to fines of up to $500. The city urges residents to beat the heat by visiting public pools.


Governor Kathy Hochul is warning New Yorkers to take precautions during this week’s extreme heat wave. The governor has set up cooling stations and deployed the national guard to portions of upstate.

Hochul says 50 national guard members have been deployed to Syracuse and Albany, where the heat is expected to be the worst on Tuesday. It will be bad later in the week in the downstate area.

Many schools have shifted to a half day schedule, and state highway workers are on limited shifts.

Pools and beaches at state parks are open, and Hochul urges New Yorkers who have the Juneteenth holiday off on Wednesday to get in the water, or simply stay home in a cool place.

New York for the first time has advanced maps to show the extent of the heat, but Hochul says you don’t need sophisticated equipment to know that it’s hot.

“We don't need any fancy data to tell us this :it's going to be extremely hot and uncomfortable,” Hochul said. “In fact, it'll be dangerously hot”.

She says the several nights and days of sustained heat expected that will be most dangerous. Hochul and state health commissioner, James McDonald, says it’s there’s a cumulative effect of the heat so early in the season, and New Yorkers should watch out for the elderly and vulnerable for signs of heat stroke or exhaustion.

Patrick McCullough is a graduate student studying Library Science at Syracuse University. He is expected to graduate in May, 2026. As a student contributor at WAER, Patrick produces digital and audio stories.
Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at
Moore arrives in Syracuse after working in the Phoenix, Arizona, market, where her extensive experience includes tenures as a Morning Edition reporter for KJZZ-FM, the local NPR affiliate; producing, anchoring and reporting for KTAR News Radio; and serving as a political and senior reporter for KNXV-TV.
Bob Beck, a veteran media professional, currently serves as a part-time editor/host at WAER Public Radio and an adjunct professor at Syracuse University. Beck retired as News Director at Wyoming Public Radio in 2022 after 34 years. During his time, Beck won 5 regional Edward R. Murrow awards and 5 Public Media Journalists Association awards for reporting. He also won 11 PMJA awards for the news and public affairs program Open Spaces. He was awarded the Wyoming School Bell award for education reporting and was part of two Emmy Award winning television productions. You can find him on X under the name @butterbob.