Wednesday, July 07, 1999
Heat staggers Midwest, East
High of 90 due today for Tristate
BY TOM O'NEILL
The Cincinnati Enquirer
and The Associated Press
Temperatures climbed to 100 steamy degrees in the East for the third day in a row Tuesday, triggering blackouts, stalling commuter trains and forcing some schools to send summer school students home early.
Roofers Scott Wright, left, and William Greer cope with the heat Tuesday on their job in Symmes Township.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
At least eight deaths have been blamed on the heat in the Midwest and East.
In Cincinnati, temperatures reached 94 Tuesday, tying June 8 for the hottest day this year.
A little relief is on its way, both in the Tristate and the East. Today's high is expected to reach 90 in Greater Cincinnati; highs in the East will likely fall short of triple digits.
More of the same is expected Thursday and Friday, before a front arrives Saturday, delivering to the Tristate a high of 86 with scattered thunderstorms. On Sunday, forecasters anticipate a clear day with a high of 84 and a low of 66.
No deaths have been blamed on the heat in Greater Cincinnati, and Cinergy reported only minor power outages, primarily because of a transformer overload from air-conditioner use by its 1.4 million customers.
Steve Brash, Cinergy spokesman, said the peak megawatt output of 10,100 came at 3 p.m. Tuesday, eclipsing output during the blistering holiday weekend and approaching the record of 10,387, set July 21, 1998. Average output for this time of year is 8,000 to 8,500.
In New Jersey, about 55,000 customers of GPU Inc., one ofthe state's three major electric utilities, lost power Tuesday. In New York, the Long Island Power Authority said outages had affected at least 50,000 customers.
And the Maryland utility Conectiv started a series of rolling blackouts shutting off 20,000 customers at a time for about 20 minutes on the Eastern Shore because one of its generators failed.
The heat damaged overhead electrical wires for commuter trains in Connecticut, and 41 of the 58 morning trains from New Haven into New York City were late, said Metro North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders.
Subways on Manhattan's Upper West Side were shut down during the afternoon be cause of heat-related power dips, sending hundreds of people looking for cabs and buses. Several lanes on Manhattan's Queensboro Bridge over the East River closed for eight hours during the night because of heat-warped decking, and highways buckled elsewhere in the East.
Philadelphia school officials sent hundreds of summer-school students home early because many buildings had no air conditioning.
Across the East on Monday, high temperature records started falling before the sun even reached its peak, as Atlantic City, N.J., hit 98 before noon, with humidity of about 40 percent. The mercury hit record highs of 100 at Newark, N.J., and Harrisburg, Pa., and 101 in New York City and at Washington's Reagan National Airport.
In Cincinnati, the temperature fell well short of 100 degrees, but it was still brutal to those who had to work outside.
Darrell Schacht, a member at First Baptist Church of Amelia, spent the day painting the roof trim, lying on a wool blanket to keep from burning himself on the broiling rooftop.
It's definitely cooler than those shingles, he said, laughing as he wiped sweat from his forehead with his arm. And when I'm on the roof at least I'm 30 feet closer to God.
Construction worker Darrell Barnett was focused on his plumbing assignments at a new Holiday Inn off Interstate 275 in Clermont Countywhen a very special moment occurred around 1 p.m.
A breeze, he said. And that's the only one we had. I was sweating by 8. The thing to do is just not think about it.
His other trick: cool water, not cold.
Ice cold water can cause cramps and quick inner-temperature fluctuations that slow you down, he explained.
The cool water is something George and Sheila Riley of Williamsburg, Clermont County, agree on, but they wanted no part of slowing down.
They spent Tuesday aboard their Sea-Doo jet ski, splashing around East Fork Lake State Park in Clermont County at 40 mph.
Oh, I love the water, especially when it's so hot, Mrs. Riley said.
A little perspective: Fifty years ago today, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the previous day, one person died and 12 collapsed as the mercury reached 99 degrees, breaking the record set in 1874.
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