It’s going to be hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July.

No, really.

The warmest stretch of weather so far this year is expected in Northeast Ohio beginning Saturday.

The National Weather Service warns that “dangerous temperatures” will creep in and stick around for a while.

The area is already under a Heat Advisory from noon Saturday to 10 p.m. Saturday as temperatures will be in the 90s with heat index values — what the temperature feels like — well above 100 degrees.

The weather service warns it could be even hotter on Sunday, so the advisory will likely be extended or even upped to an Excessive Heat Warning.

“Keep in mind that conditions will vary locally with urban areas often seeing heat index values higher than nearby rural areas,” the weather service says.

Officials warn the elderly and those sensitive to the heat could be susceptible to stress and heat-related illnesses.

It will offer a hot start to Akron’s popular Rib, White and Blue Festival that runs through the Fourth in downtown Akron.

Rib joints from throughout the country have set up shop and are cooking up saucy dishes over hot grills.

Justin Leonard, a cook with the Carolina Rib King from Spartanburg, S.C., said his day begins around 8 a.m., when the ribs and other meats are thrown in the smoker, and continues well into the night when the last rib is taken off the hot grill to give it that charred taste.

They cook over hot coals, so it’s always well over 200 degrees in and around the grill. So the temperature hitting well into the 90s outside of the tent doesn’t bother him too much.

Leonard said he has a fan to keep him cool, and he drinks plenty of water.

And if things get too hot, he said with a laugh, he just “pulls down his shades [sunglasses] to be cool.”

“I’m from South Carolina so I’m used to the hot weather.”

Given the combination of high temperatures and high humidity, officials say Northeast Ohio residents should try to stay out of the sun, drink plenty of fluids, find an air-conditioned space and check on relatives and neighbors who live in homes that are not air-conditioned.

If you have to work outside, officials suggest scheduling strenuous activities in the early morning or evening and be sure to wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing. Take frequent breaks and, again, drink plenty of water.

Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion that could lead to the more serious heat stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say these symptoms include:

• Heavy sweating

• Cold, pale and clammy skin

• Fast, weak pulse

• Nausea or vomiting

• Muscle cramps

• Fatigue

• Dizziness

• Headache

• Faintness

Haven of Rest Executive Director Jeff Kaiser said the doors will be open 24/7 at its center on East Market Street in Akron through the heat wave to allow the city’s homeless to cool off and get a drink or some food.

The staff will keep a watchful eye, Kaiser said, to look for any signs of heat-related stress or illness.

“Anyone can come in and get out of the elements,” he said.

The outlook for any relief is not good. The 90-degree temperatures that are starting Friday are expected to continue all the way through Thursday. The first chance of thunderstorms and rain showers arrives Monday and extends through Thursday.

FirstEnergy spokesman Chris Eck said the utility has been prepared for the heat wave all week and the expected spike in energy consumption as folks and businesses crank up the AC.

Crews have been using so-called “thermovision” cameras that capture infrared images to detect potential problems in substations and on poles and make necessary repairs.

Helicopters were also deployed at the start of the summer season to look for any issues — like low-hanging wires or trees — along the utility’s tens of thousands of miles of transmission lines.

Craig Webb, who will be hiding in a hammock under a shade tree for the foreseeable future, can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3547.