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Sweltering Conditions Could Get Worse Before They Get Better

Heat Advisories, Warnings Continue As Utilities Ask Customers To Conserve

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The heat wave continued across the Tri-State Area on Tuesday and forecasters said it will continue for at least the rest of the work week.

In fact, the sweltering conditions will get worse before they get better, CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported. The high temperature in Manhattan on Tuesday peaked at 94 degrees.

Quinn forecast a high temperature of 96 in Manhattan for Thursday, and warned the 90-plus degree temperatures could continue into Saturday.

A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. Wednesday for New York City. An excessive heat warning is in effect for parts of New Jersey.

EXTRAS: Forecast & Alerts | Staying Safe In The Summer Heat | Find A Cooling Center

Forecasters say high temperatures in the mid to upper 90s will combine with the humidity to make it feel like 105 degrees. The hottest part of the day will occur between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. through Friday.

“The persistence of this heat wave is the most impressive thing about it,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Carl Babinski. “You need three consecutive days of 90 or greater to get a heat wave and in Central Park, that started officially Sunday when we hit 90.”

This is the second stifling heat wave of the summer that has settled over the Tri-State Area.

“By the time I get to work, I’m exhausted from the commute. When I get home, same thing. The heat is just brutal,” said Upper West Side resident Marc Muschel.

Officials said biking, running or even walking in this weather can lead to heat exhaustion.

“It’s going to be very hot and humid this week. The weather can be dangerous, especially for those without air conditioning, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

“I’m 79 and my goodness, I never remember it being this hot,” Harlem resident Thomas Wade told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell.

Wade said he had a near fainting spell during last month’s heat, so he’s being extra cautious in the middle of the current heat wave.

“Paramedics told me to keep drinking water. I wasn’t drinking enough water,” Wade told Burrell.

At St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, hospital staff said there has been an increase in patients coming to the emergency room in recent days.

“We worry about two populations, the very old and the very young,” Dr. Ernest Patti told Burrell.

He said those two vulnerable groups are more easily overcome by the heat than healthy adults.

“They’ll be weak. They’ll feel very tired. They’ll be dehydrated. They’ll complain of headache, nausea, some of them will be vomiting,” Dr. Patti said.

The first method doctors use to treat patients with heat-related illness is to remove their clothing and spray them with water in front of a fan.

“The evaporation, what that does is helps cool the body most effectively,” Dr. Patti said.

But extreme heat can be dangerous for just about anyone.

At an event Tuesday in Brooklyn, an 18-year-old City Council intern collapsed, apparently due to the heat, 1010 WINS reported. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stayed with the intern until an ambulance arrived.

The American Red Cross has urged all residents to take the heat wave seriously and has reminded everyone to drink plenty of water.

“Surprisingly, approximately 400 Americans die each summer due to the heat,” Sam Kille with the New York City Area Red Cross told WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola.

Kille said the excessive heat is also dangerous for healthy, young people who are outside for extended periods.

“Make sure that you take a lot of breaks so that you don’t succumb to the heat,” Kille added.

He added that sodas can be dehydrating and warned that if someone is red and not sweating, that’s likely heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Nausea
  • Clammy, moist skin
  • Pale or flushed complexion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Slightly elevated body temperature
  • Fast and shallow breathing

“So the message is in these high-heat times, decrease your physical activity, cool yourself off, keep up with the fluids and take at least two hours of an air-conditioned break,” said Dr. Kevin Baumlin of Mount Sinai.

NORTHERN NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS BATTLING THE HEAT

All across the region, residents are doing whatever they can to beat the heat.

North Arlington, N.J. resident Chris Monahan said his four air conditioners have been running constantly since the heat wave began.

“Twenty four/seven — all four of them. They’re being run all the time,” he told CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes.

He said conserving energy during a heat wave is incredibly tough.

“In this time of year, I don’t think people have a problem spending the extra money to keep themselves cool and to get out of the heat,” Monahan told Grymes.

Ipec City, also in North Arlington, has been selling air conditioning units like hotcakes.

“The minute it broke 92, the phone started ringing. We had a stack of them outside, I’m down to two or three left,” Ipec City general manager Chris White told Grymes.

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT COOKING IN EXTREME HEAT

The extreme heat is only amplified by some popular playground materials.

Experts warn artificial turf can cause burns, even through footwear.

“If you do side-by-side comparisons, the grass runs about 70 to 80 degrees cooler,” Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates, a watchdog group, told Kosola. “You can see the heat rising off these fields.”

The turf can reach temperatures of 170 degrees, Kosola reported.

Croft said rubber playground surfacing and metal slides also heat up to skin-burning temperatures in this type of extreme heat.

“You should also avoid playgrounds that are not completely shaded,” said Croft.

More than 10 children are treated at burn centers in New York City every year due to overheated playground equipment, Kosola reported.

UTILITIES READY FOR HIGH USAGE

Con Edison has activated its 24/7 command center to keep the power flowing through the five boroughs and Westchester County.

Crews are calling for a 5 percent voltage decrease on Staten Island and are asking customers to do their part by conserving energy as the worst of the heat is yet to come.

“We haven’t had any major issues. There’s the potential for a record to break Wednesday or Thursday in usage, that’s why we have the command set up,” said Con Edison spokesman Chris Olert. “The next couple days will be a real test to the equipment. We have a couple of generators working in Staten Island to reinforce the system there and, overall, the system is in pretty good shape.”

PSE&G and LIPA said they also have extra workers on hand to handle any power outages that may occur.

PSE&G said it knows folks are blasting their air conditioners during this heat wave. The utility is working around the clock in its transmission control center to make sure power stays on for their 2.2 million New Jersey customers.

“We kind of prepare for this all year long. We are more alert, we continually monitor the weather, the system conditions and we’re just looking at things a little tighter, a little closer on every different system we have,” PSE&G spokesman Ron Wharton said.

He said the utility does have extra workers on stand-by, but doesn’t anticipate any major issues this week or any record usage levels.

All area utilities have asked customers to conserve energy where possible.

WAYS TO STAY COOL

There are more than 400 cooling centers open across New York City.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management advised seniors and people with health conditions to stay in air-conditioned areas. It said all New Yorkers should avoid strenuous activity and drink plenty of water.

Across the region, kids were taking advantage of several water parks to keep cool on Tuesday.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, on Riverside Drive and 91st Street, there are hippo and dinosaur statues spitting out water.

At Chelsea Waterside Park, children enjoyed playing and the adults said they love to admire the works of art fitting for the neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of galleries here, more than anywhere else in the city,” one woman told Smith. “If you look at all the designs, they are almost like sculptures.”

The park also has a small wading spot and blue fountains spritzing the entire play area.

The big draw at Imagination Playground in Crown Heights is the bronze dragon fountain.

Brooklynites can also catch a break from the heat at Pier 6 Playground and what’s known as the Water Lab.

Hoboken’s Madison Street Park has a Candyland-like sprinkler playground, Smith reported, as does Flushing, Queens at the New York Hall of Science.

The massive Queens playground costs $8 a child, but is equipped with yellow tube slides and water to splash in.

Elsewhere across the city, Department of Environmental Protection crews made the rounds and installed sprinkler caps on some fire hydrants. It is otherwise illegal to open fire hydrants.

NJ TRANSIT is also helping its customers keep cool this week by extending waiting room hours.

Trains departing from the Hoboken Terminal will also be posted 20 minutes in advance so commuters will be able to board air-conditioned trains ahead of their departure times. Buses leaving from the Port Authority Bus Terminal will allow early boarding for ticketed customers as well.

Nassau County’s public pools will be open until 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The extended hours are meant to offer residents more time for relief from the heat.

And Long Island’s state beaches will also be open later than usual.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced beachfront swimming hours will be extended until 8 p.m. at Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Heckscher, Hither Hills and Sunken Meadow State Parks.

Other tips for keeping cool:

  • Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest times of the day.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  •  If you must go outside, wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your face and head.
  • Do not leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked car or vehicle – temperatures inside a closed car can reach over 140 degrees quickly and exposure to high temperatures can kill within minutes.
  • Be sure to check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have special needs.
  • Make sure there is enough water and food for pets and limit their exercise.

Forecasters say the excessive heat may linger into Saturday. Relief in the form of showers and thunderstorms is expected later Saturday. Cooler temperatures are expected to arrive on Sunday.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)