Sun, Jul 21, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Heat wave gripping US Midwest spreads east

Reuters, NEW YORK

People cool off in Crown Fountain in Chicago on Friday.

Photo: AFP

A massive heat wave that has enveloped the US Midwest on Friday pushed into the northeast, ushering in temperatures that could top 38°C in Washington and prompting utilities to take steps to prevent power outages.

The huge blob of warm air is likely to blanket the region, home to one-third of the US population, through today with little overnight relief, said meteorologist David Roth of the US National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

“There are 124 million people under a heat advisory or excessive heat warning — that’s a third of the population,” Roth said.

As of Friday, the heat wave sprawled from Kansas to the Atlantic Coast, and from South Carolina north to Maine. It was expected to intensify yesterday and today.

Utilities in the eastern half of the country expected to have enough resources to meet power demand on Friday, but asked consumers to turn down air conditioners to avoid putting stress on the system, which could cause outages.

“I’m very confident,” Consolidated Edison Inc president Tim Cawley said when asked at a news conference if the utility, which serves New York City, could quickly respond to any outages in the country’s largest city.

Four thousand employees were poised to work 12-hour shifts over the weekend, he said.

Early on Friday, as the heat intensified in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, 11,600 homes and businesses lost power after fires erupted at two substations near the state capitol.

With temperatures forecast to hit 34°C later in the day, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers asked non-essential state workers to stay home.

On the east coast, temperatures on Friday were forecast to reach near 38°C in Washington, 36°C in Philadelphia and 33°C in New York City, where it would feel more like 43°C with high humidity, Roth said.

Yesterday’s forecast called for 97°C in New York City and Philadelphia, and 38°C in Washington. Much the same was in the forecast for today.

The dangers posed by extreme heat and humidity prompted officials to scrap outdoor competitions, including yesterday’s horse races at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York and today’s New York City Triathlon.

To keep cool during past heat waves, suburban children typically run under lawn sprinklers and city kids frolic in the spray of fire hydrants, but the New York City Fire Department said that special spray caps that firehouses hand out should be used to avoid creating a hazard.

“If you open a fire hydrant without these caps, you endanger your neighbors, because the water pressure drops and our firefighters are not able to fight fires,” department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said on social media.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top