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Heat Taking Its Toll On New Yorkers, Transit On Fifth Day Of Heat Wave

Heat Advisories, Warnings Remain In Effect Across Tri-State

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Yorkers are saying “enough is enough” as temperatures continue to surge to potentially dangerous levels with relief from the largest heat wave of the summer still days away.

A heat advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. Friday for New York City.

EXTRAS: Forecast & Alerts | Staying Safe In The Heat | Find A Cooling Center | Find A Pool Near You | NYC Beach Guide | PHOTOS: Heat Wave Hits New York

From sharing umbrellas to stopping by portable fountains for a drink, New Yorkers have been trying to cope any way they can, CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported.

“It’s miserable. It feels like I live inside a dog’s mouth,” Union Square resident Ana Perilo told Dardashtian.

“I get a little cranky but, you know, try to keep moving forward,” Bronx resident Daryl Jones said.

Thursday’s combination of high temperatures and high humidity pushed the heat index into the triple digits.

“It’s going to be the hottest day that we’ve had so far,” said CBS 2 Meteorologist Vanessa Murdock. “It’s going to feel like 100 to 105.”

STAYING SAFE IN THE HEAT

Hospitals were seeing scores of patients suffering from heat stroke, dehydration and respiratory problems as the second heat wave of the summer simmered through its fifth day.

“As an EMT, we really have to watch out for heat stroke, heat exhaustion,” said EMT Rocky Robinson. “As a matter of fact, they are dropping like flies.”

Health experts say the best ways to stay cool is to stay hydrated, but not with just anything. Doctors recommend bottled water with added electrolytes.

“Water is really the best. Drink enough water during the day to replace the sweat that you sweated out during these heat waves,” said Dr. Ernest Patti from St. Barnabas Hospital.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley warned that heat can kill.

“We have not had any deaths reported so far during the current heat wave. However, we know that deaths from heat illness tend to lag behind the temperatures. People can become very ill and they may die later,” Farley told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

Farley noted that in 2006, 40 New Yorkers died during a 10-day heat wave.

The health commissioner has called on New Yorkers to check in on anyone they know who does not have air conditioning, especially the elderly and those with health conditions.

“If people are sweating profusely, if they’re light-headed, if they have muscle cramps or nausea, help them get cool by getting them to drink water, take a cool shower or a sponge bath and remove any excess clothing,” said Farley.

Officials say you can also keep cool by wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and try to avoid strenuous activity during the hottest times of the day. If you must go outside, wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your face and head.

Be sure to check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have special needs.

It’s also important to keep your pets cool.

Jane Hoffman, the president of The Alliance for NYC’s Animals, recommends soaking your dog’s coat with water before going outside in the heat. Hoffman says that includes the dog’s paws and outer ears. She says you should also bring water on the walk.

Don’t take your dog out at all during the hottest time of the day. Hot asphalt, blacktop and concrete can cause paw burns. Those surfaces also radiate heat. That can make dogs sick, especially smaller dogs, which are closer to the ground.

Experts also recommend limiting your dog’s exercise.

Signs of distress include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, bright red tongue, vomiting, or unsteadiness. If that happens, get the dog into a cool place and call the veterinarian.

Never 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.

POWER COMPANIES URGE CONSERVATION

Con Edison crews were working to fix power lines that caught fire in Jamaica, Queens, on Thursday. Workers were all over the city and Westchester County, keeping power running and restoring it for those who lost it, CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

Deidania Garcia was breathing a huge, cool sigh of relief after she arrived home to find the power — and her air conditioner — back on in her Bronx apartment.

“It’s in and out, trying to go to people’s houses to see who has power so I can charge my phone or who has power so I can cool off for a minute,” Garcia said.

Electricity went out overnight for about 600 customers around Walton Avenue in the Concourse Village section. Con Edison told CBS 2 an underground cable burnout — probably due to the heat — was to blame.

Many lost power completely. Others like Rosa Tirada had partial power, but no air conditioner on the hottest day of the heat wave.

“It’s just overbearing. It’s overbearing. We’ve taken three showers since this morning to keep ourselves refreshed,” she said.

She said the family’s 4-month-old puppy took it all the hardest. Con Ed reported all power restored in the area by 2 p.m.

Over in Jamaica, some power lines caught fire Thursday afternoon. Chopper 2 HD was over the scene on 91st Avenue. No one was injured.

Bettie Valentine said she heard a pop, smelled smoke and came outside.

“The lines at the corner were still burning. You could see flames. [It was] a little scary. Power lines burning and it’s hot,” Valentine said.

“We estimate we’ve got six million room air conditioners in New York City and every one of them is cranking right now,” Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

Although Thursday was the hottest day of the heat wave, Con Ed said no power usage records were, Grymes reported.

Electricity demand chart at Con Ed Command Post, July 18, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Electricity demand chart at Con Ed Command Post, July 18, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

In Connecticut, the power grid is also being taxed as the extreme heat continues.

“The heat affects not only us humans, it can affect the power grid elements – the power plants and the transmission lines – because they’re large pieces of equipment,” ISO New England spokesperson Ellen Foley told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

All area utilities have asked customers to conserve energy where possible, like setting your thermostat above 78 degrees and turning up the temperature on big energy items like the refrigerator.

HEAT TAKING TOLL ON MASS TRANSIT

Amtrak announced speed restrictions due to the extreme heat Thursday — which will also affect some NJ TRANSIT commuters.

“Due to the oppressive heat affecting the northeastern United States, speed restrictions have been imposed on Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor tracks between Boston and Washington. Speed restrictions are also in effect on portions of the Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Passengers traveling on Amtrak and/or commuter trains that access the NEC should expect 10-20 minute delays.”

Amtrak said speed restrictions are implemented for safety when internal rail temperatures exceed 120 degrees.

The railroad also said the heat loosened overhead power lines on the Northeast Corridor and that caused delays between Metropark and Trenton, N.J., on Wednesday afternoon.

The excessive heat is also creating chaos for drivers.

Two westbound lanes of Sunrise Highway were closed Wednesday as crews raced to clean up chunks of crushed concrete a result of roads buckling.

The same thing happened earlier this week on the Long Island Expressway.

The heat can be hard on cars as well.

At the service center on 43rd Street in Long Island City, cars, livery cabs, police cruisers and trucks were all being repaired, WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported.

“There’s two major things that go wrong with a vehicle during hot, hot summer days. A, is overheating and B, is the air conditioning not working,” City Cadillac service director Dominic Stagliano told Kosola.

He added that if your car overheats, it’s best to shut the vehicle off to avoid even more costly damage.

The National Weather Service says relief in the form of showers and thunderstorms is expected later Saturday. Cooler temperatures are expected to arrive on Sunday.

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