Utilities have restored power to many of the 20,000 homes and businesses in and around New York City that lost power earlier in the day as the electric network grappled with one of the summer's hottest days.
Consolidated Edison reported more than 19,000 outages on Staten Island Monday afternoon and scattered ones elsewhere. PSEG Long Island said more than 5,000 customers were without electricity, mainly in Nassau County.
By early Tuesday morning, the Con Edison outages across New York City and Westchester were down to about 2,500 customers, but power was expected to be fully restored by 7 a.m.
Temperatures crept above 90 degrees for the second straight day in much of the area Monday, though it felt warmer than 100 degrees as the brutal humidity continued to smother tri-state residents.
Officials said the excessive temperatures fried Con Ed's feeders and overhead wires, leaving 23 neighborhoods without power on Staten Island for more than 10 hours.
Air quality alerts were in effect for much of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut as official urged residents to stay inside and avoid the oppressive conditions as much as possible.
The city opened 500 cooling centers through Monday for those who don't have access to air conditioning. To find the nearest cooling center, call 311 or click here. City swimming pools will also have extended hours until 8 p.m.
Earlier Monday, Con Ed reduced power to 138,000 homes and businesses in several Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, including Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Kew Gardens, Lindenwood, Howard Beach and Broad Channel, to protect equipment while fixing it. The utility also asked customers in those neighborhoods, as well as in midtown west, to avoid using washers, dryers, air conditioners and other energy-intensive equipment and to turn off lights and televisions when not needed until the cable/equipment problems are resolved.
PSEG Long Island activated a voluntary plan that lets it control air-conditioning use from afar at some homes and businesses.
Monday's blistering heat comes a day after the hottest day of the year was recorded in the five boroughs and much of the rest of the region. Temperatures topped 93 degrees in Central Park Sunday as the heat index climbed to an intolerable 105 degrees.
Newark, meanwhile, saw the hottest temperatures, as the mercury climbed to 98 degrees.
An approaching front Tuesday will bring slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels, but it won't offer too much relief from the heat, Storm Team 4 says. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s in the city and northern New Jersey, which would make three straight days of at least 90-degree temperatures and mark the first heat wave of the season for those areas.
Coastal areas will see slightly cooler temperatures in the upper 80s. It will still be sunny and hot, but the humidity should decrease significantly as the week wears on. It is forecast to be in the mid 80s on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The region should reach more tenable conditions on Saturday with temperatures in the low 80s.
TIPS FOR AVOIDING HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS:
- Stay out of the sun -- avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect some of the sun’s energy.
- Drink fluids -- particularly water -- even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. (Those on fluid-restricted diets or taking diuretics should first consult their physician.)
- Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid beverages containing alcohol and/or caffeine.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours -- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- If possible, go to an air-conditioned building for several hours during the hottest parts of the day.
- New York City may open cooling centers around the five boroughs when temperatures reach dangerous levels. When cooling centers do open, call 311 or go to nyc.gov/oem to find the nearest center.
- Cool down with a cool bath or shower.
- 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.
- Cover all exposed skin with an SPF sunscreen (15 or above); wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and head.
- Never leave your children or pets in the car.