Saturday, July 31, 1999
City roasts in 101 heat
Power blackouts averted
BY AMY HIGGINS and SAUNDRA AMRHEIN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
As the Tristate roasted on the hottest day yet of the two-week heat wave Friday a record-tying 101 degrees thousands of workers were sent home early to conserve electricity.
As a result, Cinergy Corp., which had warned of possible rolling blackouts, called off its request to cut electricity use, anticipating lower demand today and Sunday.
Friday's high temperature at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the region's official reporting station, tied the record for July 30, set in 1940. Temperatures reached 104 degrees at Lunken and Hamilton airports.
Our system is holding, Cinergy spokesman Steve Brash said late Friday afternoon. We are stable and will continue to monitor it closely. We've not had to exercise ro tating blackouts.
Mr. Brash said the blackouts in which selected neighborhoods would lose power for short periods of time were prevented because industrial users, large companies and offices turned off lights and computers, and turned up thermostats.
The weekend is expected to be warm again, with temperatures near 100 degrees today. But cooling thunderstorms are predicted for Sunday, when the high will hover at 90; temperatures should drop into the 80s next week.
The city of Cincinnati will keep all 28 cool centers and 33 swimming pools open during the weekend. Free transportation is available to the cool centers. (Call 591-6000 for information.)
The current heat wave has been linked to at least 94 deaths in 18 states across the country since July 19. The Midwest has been hit hardest, with Missouri logging 29 heat-related deaths and Illinois 23. Ten have died in Hamilton County.
Temperatures passed 100 degrees in many cities Friday, including Chicago, where it was 103. It was 106 in Louisville, Ky., one degree short of the city's record, and 104 in Fort Knox. Kenosha, Wis., reached 102, and Winona, Minn., reported a high of 99. Nashville, Tenn., broke a record at 101.
To prevent power blackouts, offices, malls and factories across the Tristate limited electric usage Friday.
The University of Cincinnati shut down three hours early; Northern Kentucky University closed two hours early.
County, municipal and federal offices around the region closed a few hours early.
Newport Steel canceled its afternoon shift and Milacron Inc. delayed the start of its second shift. AK Steel in Middletown shut off power to almost half of its plant for five hours.
Kroger turned off many non-essential lights in its stores and shut off non-essential equipment at its corporate office.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and radio station WLW-AM used emergency generators to reduce pulls on Cinergy.
Some airport operations such as runway lights are exempt from power cutbacks.
Hospitals and emergency cooling centers also are exempt.
GE Aircraft Engines in Evendale turned down lights in office and common areas. Production continued, but engine testing was suspended .
Meanwhile, health experts continued to warn residents to drink fluids and take precautions.
At least two people were taken to hospitals Friday after suffering heat-related illnesses: a 52-year-old golfer and a 15-year-old gardener.
Friday, Reds shortstop Barry Larkin and his wife donated 100 air conditioners worth about $30,000 to Mercy Franciscan at St. John Center in Over-the-Rhine, said spokeswoman Tara Robinson. The units were snapped up immediately.
At 10:30 a.m. today, free fans will be given to the disabled and to people 65 and older at the cool center at 1715 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine. The Carl and Edyth Lindner family has donated $5,000 to pay for 300 fans and public-service announcements; city Councilman Charlie Winburn and his wife have purchased 50.
To have a fan delivered or to make a donation, call Mr. Winburn's office at 352-3406.
Lisa Biank Fasig, Marie McCain, Mark Curnutte, Lucy May, Anne Michaud, Molly Harper, Tom McCann and Perry Brothers contributed to this report.
City roasts in 101 heat
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