NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Following another day of dangerous heat, severe thunderstorms once again rolled into parts of the Tri-State Area late Friday.
Just in time for Alex Rodriguez’s last game at Yankee Stadium, dark, ominous clouds blew into the area and rain fell. The game was delayed, but later resumed.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for much of the Tri-State Area Friday evening, and remained in effect until 8:15 p.m. for parts of Long Island.
The storms followed another day of extreme heat that reached the dangerous level. At 5 p.m., the temperature was 91 degrees at Central Park and 95 degrees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, with west-southwest winds at 11 mph, CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.
But the heat index made it feel like 100 degrees at central Park, 104 in Edison, New Jersey, 106 in Sparta, New Jersey, and 107 degrees at Yankee Stadium ahead of Alex Rodriguez’s last game.
Two hours later, a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for the city and much of the Tri-State Area.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials urged residents to use caution on Friday and through weekend as oppressive heat and humidity hang around without relief.
New York City officials issued a warning in particular to people outdoors and those with no air conditioning.
“If you don’t need to be outdoors in this heat, don’t do it,” the mayor said Friday. “It’s a common sense thing. Change your plans if you can, limit your time outside, limit your exposure and stay inside.”
he hazy, hot and humid conditions are expected to continue throughout the weekend with the heat index in some areas reaching up to 110 degrees.
As a result, heat warnings and watches are in effect across the Tri-State area.
In New York, an excessive heat warning is in effect until 10 p.m. Sunday for the five boroughs of the city, Nassau County and southern Westchester County.
Excessive heat watches and heat advisories are in effect for northern Westchester, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam and Rockland counties throughout the weekend.
In New Jersey, an excessive heat warning is in effect until Sunday night for Mercer, Gloucester, Camden, northwest Burlington, Hudson, eastern Bergen, eastern Essex and eastern Union counties.
A heat advisory and excessive heat watch are in effect for the rest of the state.
And in Connecticut, an excessive heat watch is in effect for Fairfield and New Haven from Saturday morning through Sunday evening. A heat advisory is effect until 8 a.m. Saturday in other parts of the state.
As CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported, the heat was already causing serious problems on Friday as power was out at a senior center.
At the Brookdale Village Senior Center on Beach 19th Street in Far Rockaway, Queens, seniors were forced outside, trying to stay cool in the shade in the blistering heat. Some even poured water on themselves.
The power went out at Brookdale Village on Thursday afternoon.
“We were here all night… until 2 o’clock in the morning we went upstairs,” one resident said.
It happened after an underground transformer failed. Water and a cooling bus were brought in on Friday after a resident said she called a local congressman.
The resident, Connie Tomblinson, said her apartment felt like an oven.
“Hot; unbearable — it was unbearable,” she said. “We lost power at 5:30 all right, but no one came to tell us what was happening, so everybody came out in front of the building.”
Mayor de Blasio responded to the crisis from the Office of Emergency Management.
“In this case, thank God that backup generator is providing cooling in those common areas,” the mayor said.
But backup generators and power are not available everywhere, and heat exposure can place people at serious risk.
“In New York City, more than 30 percent of heat deaths in recent years involve people who were exposed to heat in homes without air conditioning,” said Marisa Raphael, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “If you have air conditioning and haven’t used it up until now, today is the day to turn it on.”
More than 500 cooling centers are open for those without air conditioning. For those at home, city officials said to keep thermostats at 78 degrees to avoid strain on the power grid.
There are also concerns in the subways, where there is air conditioning on the trains, but not on the platforms.
“It’s about 110 degrees down there,” Upper West Side resident Olivia Lui told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
“It’s great that we have trains now that have more air conditioning,” said Upper East Side resident Zee Perez.
“If you’re going to be traveling on the subway, or you’re going to be traveling on the buses, make sure you’re hydrated, bring some water with you, et cetera,” Mayor de Blasio said. “But it’s also, don’t travel more than you need to travel.”
If you have to be outdoors, city officials advised that people cool down with water.
“People should expect very tough conditions all the way into Sunday night,” de Blasio said. “Anyone who does not feel that their home can be made cool enough, come to one of our cooling centers. All you have to do is call 311 to find the closest one.”
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said the combination of heat and humidity can be both “unbearable and dangerous.”
“I encourage residents to take precautions and visit one of our many cooling centers and pools if they need relief from the heat,” he said in a statement.
Health officials advise avoiding exertion during the hottest part of the day and say the very young and the very old should avoid spending too much time outdoors.
Officials are also urging people to conserve energy.
“We have to be aware — we’ve got the biggest population the city’s ever had in its history, huge demands on our power grid. The last thing any of us wants to go through is a blackout,” de Blasio said. “If you set your air conditioner to 78 degrees, you’ll be fine and you’ll help protect yourself and everybody else from the danger or a power outage.”
It was 13 years ago this weekend that the city was plunged into darkness during a three day blackout.
“Con Ed, PSE&G have done some tremendous work since then to make their systems more reliable and be able to come back from an event a lot sooner,” OEM Commissioner Joe Esposito said.
He believes demand may not be as great this weekend since many people are on vacation and businesses are not running on full throttle.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he has directed state agencies to take immediate steps to lower electricity usage across the state to help protect the power grid.
“This extreme heat has led to near-record electricity usage and has placed significant demands on our entire grid,” he said in a statement. “As temperatures remain high, I’m once again directing state agencies to take steps to conserve energy and reduce demands on the system. I encourage all New Yorkers to do the same.”
Also never leave children or pets alone in the car and be a good neighbor by checking on elderly and people with disabilities in your community who may need assistance keeping cool.
Amid the heat Friday, a manhole that overheated on East 31st Street between Fifth and Madison avenues around 2 p.m. There was no word on what caused the fire, which cut power to 18 customers.
The heat and storms also caused trouble earlier in the week. On Thursday, gusts of wind and pounding rain toppled a huge tree on Grove Street in Yonkers directly onto a car, flattening it like a wrecking ball and destroying a transformer.
It happened just outside Enrico Giordano and Alix Schnee’s home. They said when the tree fell, they actually saw the electricity surging inside.
“We had like lightning bolts — it was blue flash and it was like and explosion,” they said.
The damage wiped out power to more than 850 Con Edison customers, but it has since been restored.
Lightning also set off a fire in New Jersey, a bolt hitting electrical wires in Hardison Township.
The strong winds caused damage at Three World Trade Center when a crane struck and cracked a window. The crane did not topple over.
Forecasters say the heat wave should break on Monday after a cold front moves through the region.
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