Heat advisory in effect for much of Western Pennsylvania

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The National Weather Service has posted a heat advisory in effect from noon until 9 p.m. for parts of Western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County.

Increased humidity and temperatures in the mid-90s will combine to produce heat index values that could hit 104 this afternoon across much of the region.

The heat index incorporates humidity and temperature to provide a better indication of how hot the air feels.

Air quality will also be poor today across Allegheny County. A code orange air quality alert for the Liberty, Clairton area has been issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Children, the elderly, individuals with asthma and those with heart or lung diseases should limit outdoor activity, according to the alert.

Four cooling centers in the City of Pittsburgh will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today for senior citizens. They are in the Greenfield Healthy Active Living Center, 745 Greenfield Ave. (412-422-6551); Homewood Healthy Active Living Center, 7321 Frankstown Ave. (412-244-4190), Market House Healthy Active Living Center, 12th & Bingham streets on the South Side (412-488-8404); and Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center, 720 Sherwood Ave. (412-777-5012). Seniors who need assistance getting to a cooling center should call the center director.

Tomorrow will bring thunderstorms, but little relief from hot, humid conditions, according to the National Weather Service. The heat index again could reach 100 tomorrow afternoon.

Today will be the warmest day of the week, said Joe Palko, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh. A front will move into the Pittsburgh area tomorrow, he said, bringing storms that should break the heat and ease humidity levels. Highs will be between 80 and 85 through Monday.

Mr. Palko said that today would be hot but temperatures would not break records. The record high for today is 101, set in 1887, according to the National Weather Service; today's high will be in the mid-90s.

"Nothing is really that unusual other than just these extremely warm temperatures, just for the next few days," Mr. Palko said. "We haven't broken any records so that kind of gives an indication that it's not out of the ordinary."

Fire chiefs in the region said dry conditions this summer have made outdoor burning dangerous.

Burn bans are in effect in Pulaski and Brighton, both in Beaver County. Pulaski bans burning each year from June until the end of August, said fire Chief Scott Roeder. In Brighton, the ban is in effect until further notice because of extremely dry conditions, according to the township website.

Center fire Chief Bill Brucker said that even recreational burning should not be attempted.

On Monday, people on a farm in Center lost control of what was meant to be a controlled fire, the chief said. The dry brush on the farm helped the fire spread to and destroy two small barns, he said.

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Marcus Schwarz: mschwarz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1964.


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