It’s going to be a hot one this weekend as the worst heat wave in seven years hits the Williamsburg area.
The National Weather Service put Williamsburg, James City and York counties under an excessive heat warning from 11 a.m. Friday until 11 p.m. Sunday.
Heat index values are expected to hit between 110 to 115 degrees Saturday and Sunday afternoons. High temperatures are expected to hover around the upper 90s.
“We are not going to set any record highs, however, the last time we experienced a heat wave like this was back in July 2012,” NWS Wakefield meteorologist Jeff Orrock said.
Heat index refers to what the temperature feels like when relative humidity is combined with air temperature.
No thunderstorms are expected Saturday, but some isolated storms could pop up Sunday afternoon, Orrock said. Monday’s heat index is expected to be 105 degrees, and storms are more likely then, Orrock said.
People who expect to work or spend time outside should schedule frequent rest breaks in the shade or find an air-conditioned room to cool off. Strenuous outside activity should be scheduled for the early morning or evening.
“Heat is one thing you can prepare for,” Orrock said. “The main thing is to keep the body hydrated and limit time outdoors.”
Dominion Energy expects no issues providing electricity during the heat wave.
“Our power stations and generation sources are in good shape. We expect to continue providing reliable service to our customers even as the temperature climbs,” Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Harris said in an email.
With the heat index as high as 113 degrees on Friday after days of hot weather, area residents and workers were already grappling with the heat and looking toward the weekend.
For A Plus Landscaping owner Anthony Albanese, the heat brings familiar challenges.
"Our biggest thing is hydration. Ice and water has become our best friend," Albanese said. "Every crew is walking out of the shop with a five-gallon cooler with ice and water."
His crews start work earlier in the morning and end earlier so that they aren't outside "when it's baking."
Erin Shields and Heather Sprenkle took their children to Kiwanis Park Friday morning to beat the heat.
“It is hard to keep the kids entertained when it’s 100 degrees,” Shields said.
Watching their children jump around as the sun started to heat up, they mulled over air-conditioned ideas for the weekend. The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News is always a good one, Shields said.
“The other day we went to Water Country … when you’re nice and cool from the water it really helps,” Sprenkle said. “We’re going to do our best to stay inside and stay cool I think.”
Over at Kingsmill, Jose Panbehchi was getting in a run before the worst of the heat set in.
"People just don't go outside as much, not just jogging or walking their dogs, even going out for a drive is a bit much because of the heatwave," he said.
The Starbucks on Monticello Avenue was bustling early Friday. One of the people getting their iced coffee fix was Maggie Jaruseski, a babysitter.
While Jaruseski said she and the child she watches usually spend their time at the park and biking, they’ve been spending the past few days indoors with crafts, movies and dance parties.
“It’s just too hot to keep them outside,” Jaruseski said.
While the fountain in New Town seemed like an oasis in the middle of the Friday afternoon heat, most visitors stayed indoors at nearby shops or the Regal movie theater.
Amy Campbell sat at one of the outdoor tables at the nearby Sweet Frog with her son, waiting for her daughter to get out of a movie so she could get frozen yogurt with her children. She said she plans to stay indoors this weekend as much as possible.
“The heat can be dangerous,” she said.
Need to cool off?
Designated cooling centers
- James City County Library, 7770 Croaker Road.
- James City County Recreation Center, 5301 Longhill Road.
Suggested places to cool down
- Yorktown Library, 8500 George Washington Memorial Hwy.
- Tabb Library, 100 Long Green Blvd.
- Quarterpath Recreation Center, 202 Quarterpath Road.
- Williamsburg Library, 515 Scotland St.
For more information about the centers, call 757-259-4200. You cannot bring non-service animals into the cooling centers with you.
Staff writers Amelia Heymann, SaraRose Martin, Steve Roberts Jr, Rodrigo Arriaza and Sean CW Korsgaard contributed to this report.
Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, firstname.lastname@example.org, @jajacobs_