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Beating the heat this week has turned into an outright marathon.

And today might be its toughest leg.

A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. tonight as the combination of heat and humidity are expected to crest above the century mark.

“It’s a combination of the two,” said Aaron Reynolds, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo about noon today. “We still have plenty of daylight and plenty of heating to go today.”

As of shortly before noon, the temperature at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport stood in the mid 80s with a relative humidity of a stifling 77 percent. There was so much moisture in the air downtown that the top of the HSBC tower was barely in view through the haze.

For the first time in four days Wednesday, the mercury in Buffalo did not hit 90 degrees – it topped out at 89. The overnight low of 77 degrees, however, has only exacerbated the heat heading into today.

Authorities urge residents – especially those most susceptible to heat-related illness like children, seniors, those who are overweight or with other medical conditions – to make special caution outside today.

Heat stroke – also referred to as sun stroke – is the most serious heat-related illness, according to local health officials. Signs or symptoms include hot, dry and red skin, a rapid pulse, body temperature over 105 degrees accompanied by a loss of alertness, confusion, rapid or shallow breathing or unconsciousness. A medical emergency, 911 should be summoned for any suffering from heat stroke.

Suggestions on beating the heat today include:

• Wearing loose, light-weight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen;

• Keeping out of the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, while avoiding alcohol and caffeine;

• Taking cool showers, baths, dips in pools, or staying in air conditioned rooms, to keep body temperatures from becoming too elevated.

• Reducing outdoor work, including taking frequent rest breaks in cooler environments.

And, especially important, motorists are reminded to never leave any living person or animal in a parked car as temperatures can rise to dangerous levels within minutes.

The heat and humidity are expected to stick around Friday as well before “a strong cold front” crosses through the area into Saturday morning, bringing strong to severe thunderstorms with potentially damaging wind and rain, according to the weather service. Sunday’s forecasted high temperature is only in the upper 70s.

email: tpignataro@buffnews.com