Current Risk Alert

July 27, 2023

A Flood Watch is in effect through this evening for portions of central, eastern, northeastern and western Massachusetts. A heat advisory is also in effect until 8pm Saturday. Heat index values of 95 to 100 are expected.

Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks and flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas. Heavy rainfall, combined with already saturated soil, presents a flash flood threat for the area.

We urge you to immediately take the following precautions for storm preparedness:

  • Have custodians check drains, grates, and basins to ensure they are free of leaves and debris. Check to see if sump pumps are working.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage to people or property.
  • Remove dead or rotting branches that could fall and cause injury or damage.
  • Shutter windows. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Use a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

If outdoors, avoid the following:

  • Natural lightning rods, such as tall, isolated trees in an open area.
  • Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.
  • Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
  • Anything metal, such as lawn mowers, motorcycles, golf clubs and bicycles.

After the storm, be sure to inspect basements and roofs for leaks and flooding. In addition, inspect the grounds for weak or damaged tree limbs and have these removed immediately. If you experience property damage or injury as a result of the storm, report the claim immediately to PMA at 888-476-2669.

We also urge you to be mindful of the heat index in the coming days. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and injuries, but everyone should do the following:

  • Listen to the news and public announcements for heat advisories.
  • Limit outdoor activities, especially between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water and sports drinks. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of liquid, you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.
  • Avoid using the stove or oven.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing.
  • Do not stay in the hot weather if you feel sick.
  • Do not leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle.
  • If you must be outside, adjust to your environment, limiting your outdoor activity until you become accustomed to the heat.
  • Take frequent breaks in shaded areas.

Be mindful of employees and volunteers. If the air conditioning system is not working properly at your parish or institution, please consider having your staff work from home. If possible, try to postpone outdoor duties such as painting or landscaping until the heat wave breaks. If your parish or school is hosting summer activities for children, limit the time children spend outdoors, try to find shady areas for them to play or rest in, and be sure they have applied sunscreen and are taking frequent water breaks. 

Heat-Related Emergencies

Signs of a heat stroke

  • Victim is often confused and disorientated.
  • Skin is often hot, red and dry.
  • Body temperature is very high.

What to do if you suspect heat stroke

  • CALL 911 immediately.
  • Move victim to a cool location out of the heat.
  • Place him/her in front of a fan or in an air-conditioned room.
  • Place ice packs under armpits and groin.
  • DO NOT give the victim ANYTHING to eat or drink!

Signs of heat exhaustion

  • Skin is cool, pale and moist.
  • Body temperature is near normal.
  • Victim is sweating heavily.
  • Victim experiences headache, nausea, dizziness or vomiting.

What to do if you suspect heat exhaustion

  • CALL 911 immediately.
  • Move victim to a cool location out of the heat.
  • Lay victim on his or her back and elevate legs.
  • Remove/loosen clothing.
  • Cool victim by fanning or applying cold packs, wet sheets or towels.

Those Most At Risk

  • Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
  • People 65 years of age and older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature.
  • The unhoused can become dehydrated rapidly due to a lack of ready access to water or shelter from the heat.
  • People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
  • People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.

Plan to check on family, friends, and neighbors – especially the elderly – who do not have air conditioning or who spend much of their time alone. Check with your local authorities or call 2-1-1to find locations of cooling centers or shelters near you.