New York Sizzles as Excessive-Heat Warnings Swamp Northeast
(Bloomberg) -- A sweltering heat wave that’s engulfing the U.S. Northeast is threatening to shatter records in New York City and bring dangerously high temperatures to much of the region.
The high at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is expected to reach 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 Celsius), toppling a record for this date that’s stood for half a century. Newark, New Jersey, is forecast to hit 99 degrees, also a daily record, according to Jim Rouiller, lead meteorologist at the Energy Weather Group.
The region’s heat index -- a combination of temperature and humidity and a measure of how hot the weather will actually feel -- will be as high as 112, he said.
“These next two days will be the hottest we’ve seen all summer,” Rouiller said, adding that overnight lows in New York City won’t even dip below 80 degrees. “All that cement is going to radiate heat indoors, and it’ll be a life-threatening situation.”
Extreme weather is pummeling much of the globe. As the U.S. East Coast grapples with dangerous heat, the second-largest wildfire in California history is raging in the West. The Italian island of Sicily may have just smashed continental Europe’s heat record: 119.8. The worst wildfires in decades killed at least 65 people this week in Algeria. It all comes as on the heels of a landmark United Nations report warning of more catastrophic weather shifts without immediate action to rein in carbon emissions.
The utility that provides power to New York City, Consolidated Edison Inc., is asking customers in parts of Queens and Staten Island to cut back on electricity use while crews repair equipment. The utility has reduced voltage by 5% to the areas while repairs are made.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio returned from a summer vacation for a briefing on the heat, warning the city of hot temperatures and threats to its energy grid.
“When the heat gets like this, it puts more and more strain on the electrical system and Con Ed,” de Blasio said during a briefing Thursday. “We have to recognize the danger to our electricity supply, we don’t want to see any interruptions, we don’t want to see any challenges.”
Con Edison expects power usage to peak at 12.1 gigawatts Thursday, the highest this summer, and close to its record of 13.3 gigawatts, according to spokesman Jamie McShane.
The power grid was functioning normally at 5 p.m. local time, according to the New York Independent System Operator. Demand in New York City was coming in slightly lower than forecast. Con Edison reported fewer than 235 customers out of service.
De Blasio asked New Yorkers not to use washing machines, microwaves or other larger appliances in the next couple of days to help conserve energy, or to use them in the evening or early morning.
“It’s not just a regular, hot August day,” said New York City Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani, who warned of a high of 106 degrees over the next couple of days. “There’s an excessive heat warning, so it will continue to be dangerously hot.”
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