What to Know as Philly’s First Heat Wave of the Summer Starts to Sizzle

Here’s how long the high temps will last — and how to cope if you’re heading down the shore (or sticking around the city) this weekend.

rittenhouse square heat wave summer

Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

It’s beginning to feel like a Philly summer.

The first heat wave of the season is underway, with Thursday bringing day two of 90-plus degree temperatures. (Heat waves are defined by three or more days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.)

The humidity level has been relatively bearable so far this week, so the high temperatures have yet to feel completely brutal. But forecasters with the National Weather Service says the heat is likely to continue through Sunday, with humidity increasing through the weekend.

Thursday and Saturday are expected to be hottest, with highs that could hover around 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Friday and Sunday should be in the low 90s, per the National Weather Service. Forecasters say temperatures will likely dip back down (only to the mid-80s, though) on Monday.

The NWS issued a code orange air quality alert for the region on Thursday, meaning air pollution could pose a risk to sensitive groups (including children, the elderly and people with asthma, heart disease or lung diseases), who should avoid strenuous activity outdoors.

Overall, the heat wave isn’t likely to be as gnarly as others we’ve previously experienced — but you can definitely expect to notice the high temperatures after our relatively mild weather lately. And the heat is likely just getting started: The NWS is predicting above-average temperatures throughout for the region between July and September. (Yep, here come those sticky summer days.)

For those who are considering escaping to the beach to enjoy the heat, you might want to check out our recent list of all the cool new Jersey Shore attractions (mini golf courses, restaurants with rooftop decks, sweets shops and more). Only have time for a day trip? We’ve got a guide to three of the best. (Just make sure you watch out for the 10 worst types of beach-goers — and “flesh-eating” bacteria if you’re near the Delaware Bay.)

If you’re sticking around the city but still want to beat the heat, you could visit one of the city’s public pools. For icy treats, head to Good King Tavern for “frapertifs,” or pick up an açaí or smoothie bowl from one of these spots. (Also, patio drink deals — including sangria and build-your-own spritzes — start at Kensington Quarters on Sunday.) And check out some of these fitness offerings if you’re not feeling up for a run in the heat.