Heat wave New York City

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Days-Long Heat Wave Sparks Outages, Breaks Records

July 21, 2019 - 6:22 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) – The heat wave baking the Tri-State stretched into its third day Sunday—breaking heat records, sparking widespread power outages and prompting warnings from officials, who urged residents to be careful as temperatures neared 100 degrees amid stifling humidity.

The heat index was approaching 110 degrees in Manhattan Sunday afternoon as temperatures soared back into the 90s.

BEAT THE HEAT: Summer Survival Guide | Things To Do This Weekend

The National Weather Service says the "oppressive and dangerous" heat wave will abate by Monday and Tuesday. It will be stormy and partly cloudy on Monday; although temperatures will drop to the low 80s, it will still be quite humid.

Temps reached 100 degrees at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, almost beating the record of 101 degrees set back in 1991, according to AccuWeather. Atlantic City, meanwhile, broke its 1981 record of 99 degrees, clocking 100 degrees Sunday. 

On Sunday, Bridgeport tied its 1991 record of 98 degrees and JFK Airport tied its 1991 record of 99 degrees.

JFK Airport and Atlantic City both set daily record highs at 99 degrees Saturday, but most records being set are for the warm overnight temperatures. New York City and Boston are just two of many cities that set or tied record-high minimum temperatures, with temperatures failing to drop below 80 degrees.

Related: Advocates Demand Rikers Inmates Get Air Conditioning During Heat Wave

The heat led to power outages across the Tri-State on Saturday and Sunday. More than 9,000 PSEG Long Island customers were in the dark Saturday, as were more than 2,000 Con Edison customers in New York City, mostly in Queens. In New Jersey, more than 1,000 JCP&L customers were affected by outages.

The number of outages grew on Sunday, with at least 12,000 customers in the five boroughs without power—including at least 4,700 in Brooklyn and 3,900 in Queens. In parts of Queens, restoration wasn't expected until 11 a.m. Monday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Con Ed was taking 30,000 customers in Brooklyn temporarily off power so it can make repairs and prevent a bigger outage. He said their system in parts of Brooklyn is under severe strain and some equipment has failed. Some 33,000 customers in Brooklyn were without power Sunday night.

Con Ed said Sunday that it had a new record for power demand, clocking 11,996 megawatts. The old record, set back in 2016, was 11,855 megawatts, according to NBC4.

Earlier in the weekend, de Blasio directed owners of office buildings over 100 feet tall to set thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit through Sunday to conserve energy and avoid a blackout, just a week after a major outage in Manhattan.

The region is under a stagnant heat dome, a phenomenon where the atmosphere is pushing down, trapping humidity and not allowing moisture to escape into the air and become cooling thunderstorms. 

An excessive heat warning went into effect at noon Friday and continues through 8 p.m. Sunday as heat indexes stretch into triple digits. Mayor de Blasio also declared a heat emergency and cancelled the city’s triathlon.

Related: Pools, Beaches Extend Hours Amid Sweltering Heat Wave

Over 500 cooling centers were open through Sunday, the city's public pool and beach hours has been extended and portable drink fountains have been set up in busy pedestrian areas across the city. New Yorkers can find nearby cooling stations and hours of operation by going to nyc.gov/oem

New York state parks were also keeping their pools open longer. Westchester pools and beaches were also among the locations with extended hours.

The heat wave canceled events across the affected region, including in New York City, where authorities scrubbed a Times Square commemoration of the 1969 moon landing and an outdoor festival featuring soccer star Megan Rapinoe and musician John Legend.

To stay safe in the heat, the mayor’s office is advising the following:

  • Go to an air-conditioned location, even if for a few hours.
  • Stay out of the sun and avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Drink water
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing when inside without air conditioning or outside.
  • Protect your pets and service animals when extreme heat strikes:
  • Never leave pets in the car. Temperatures rise quickly even with the windows down and can be deadly for your pet. Call 911 if you see a pet or child in a hot car.
  • Be sure your pets have access to plenty of water, especially when it is hot.
  • Participate in activities that will keep you cool, such as going to the movies, shopping at a mall, or swimming at a pool or beach.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and, in apartments where children live, window guards.
  • Never leave your children or pets in the vehicle, even for a few minutes.
  • Check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, young children, and people with disabilities.