City Wilts Under Heat

New York City Wilts Under Record-Breaking Heat

Associated Press
July 6, 2010

A record-breaking heat wave tightened its grip on New York City on Tuesday, as triple-digit temperatures tested Consolidated Edison's power supply, threatened the health of the elderly, and tried the patience and resilience of anyone who dared to venture outside.

Just two months following the end of the eco-terrorism cold snap that threatened to bury NYC under twenty feet of snow, the city now suffers from — according to the National Weather Service — an entirely natural opposite end of the weather spectrum.

With the temperature reaching 102 degrees by 3 p.m. in Central Park, breaking the record high of 101 degrees for the day set in 1999, Con Edison officials were preparing for the highest demand for power they had ever had to supply. Their forecast was for 13,450 megawatts, a surge they said — fingers crossed — that they were prepared for.

"We're expecting a record today but we're not encouraging people to set it," said Michael S. Clendenin, a spokesman for Con Ed.

In late morning, Con Edison suffered its first significant power failure of the day: About 1,200 customers lost power around East 237th Street in the Bronx. A spokesman said the company hoped to restore power to those customers by 2 p.m.

In Corona, Queens, several customers had been without power since some overhead wires came down late Monday night. Con Ed said that problem might not be fixed until 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The blackouts came as city officials and utility executives dealt with what was the hottest day in New York since Aug. 9, 2001, when it reached 103 degrees. Furthering this problem is that the majority of the strain is set on an already over-burdened and heavily damaged power grid due to the 2006 explosion, the destruction of the Con Edison reserve plant in 2009 and the winter storm of 2010.

Worst hit was the city's financial district, where infrastructure damage from the earthquake in the fall of 2009 that cost 20 million dollars in damage to Con Edison's grid.

In Astoria, Queens, a three-alarm fire at a two-story house at 23-19 38th Street was reported at 9:28 a.m. and under control about 90 minutes later, but 18 firefighters sustained minor injuries, most of them related to heat exhaustion.

Con Edison is requesting that all customers in the city conserve electricity by turning off equipment not being used, keeping air conditioners at 78 degrees, and running washers, dryers and dishwashers at night.

Robert Madden, 25, a waiter who lives in Astoria, said that his electronic equipment would start turning off in a specific order.

"First the Playstation turns off, then the refrigerator, then the computer, the lights, then the pilot lights on the stove, then the fan," he said.

He added that his wife is both pregnant and a student, so he advised her to stay away from home.

"I told my wife to stay at school because there is air conditioning there," he said. "You can't have a pregnant wife at home baking."

Helping beat the heat, some of New York City's registered Evolved have been setting up "cool zones" in Central Park. Robert Tarpey, a registered thermokinetic has been doing his part by creating areas of cooler temperatures to bask in near Belvedere Castle.

"I'm just doing what I can with what I have," Robert said, "I have this gift and if I don't use it to help people what good is it? There's people who need to find ways to beat the heat, lots of people with nowhere else to go. I'm just doing my part."

Unfortunately, some good Samaritans found themselves in a good deal of legal hot water today as well. Two juvenile unregistered Evolved trying to help beat the heat by manipulating water from a fire hydrant and turning it to snow were spotted by authorities in Harlem and asked for their registration cards.

Unable to furnish them, the two teens were taken into police custody to be Registered and their parents to be contacted.

The record-breaking heat wave is expected to last through the week.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License