Double Heat Wave Hits Queens
It was hell on earth last week, as the mercury soared close to 100 degrees in Queens, in the second heat wave of the summer.
Temperatures reached a brutal 97 degrees on June 27 and a sweltering 96 degrees on June 28, sending residents racing to movie theaters, restaurants, malls and other air conditioned spaces.
The soaring heat forced many Queens residents to stay indoors, where those with air conditioners blasted cool air, and others doused themselves with cold water, hoping for an end to the heat.
City officials said New Yorkers consumed an additional 1.5 billion gallons of water on the first day of the heat wave.
Air conditioners ran at full blast, matching Con Ed’s all-time power demand record with a mark of 13,182 megawatts at 5 p.m. on June 27. Heavy usage led to voltage reduction, brownouts throughout the city and scattered outages in several Queens communities, city officials said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg pleaded with city residents to conserve electricity and utilize city cooling centers to beat the heat.
“We need people to turn their air conditioners to no cooler than 79 degrees, if you can do that,” Bloomberg said.
Officials at Elmhurst Hospital Center reported four patients with heat-related symptoms. Hospital officials turned two of their “decontamination trailers” into treatment centers for people suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and breathing problems.
A hospital spokesperson told the Gazette the trailers, which are designed for use in case of a biological terror attack, provided cool showers for overheated Queens residents, along with adequate space for treatment.
Fire officials said more than 100 Queens residents called 911 for help with heat related symptoms, but no heat-related deaths were reported in the borough during last week’s heat wave.
This is the second heat wave of the summer. The first heat wave lasted for two days in mid-June and claimed the life of one Queens resident, officials said.
Temperatures are expected to continue to soar into the 90s through the first week in July, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service said.