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Published: Saturday, 7/23/2011

Heat wave envelopes Northeast

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — The urban Northeast baked like a potato wrapped in foil Friday as record-breaking, 100-degree temperatures and steambath humidity combined with the heat-trapping effects of asphalt and concrete to make millions of people miserable.

The mercury in Newark, reached 108, the highest temperature ever recorded in the city.

Airports near Washington and Baltimore hit 105. Philadelphia reached 104, Boston 103, Portland, Maine, and Concord, N.H. 101, and Providence, R.I., 100.

New York City hit 104 degrees, just 2 degrees short of its all-time high. With the oppressive humidity, it felt like 113.

In Philadelphia, 50 of the city’s 70 pools operated on 45-minute cycles to give everyone a chance to get in.

Some New Yorkers were unable to take a dip to cool off at some beaches in Brooklyn and Staten Island after millions of gallons of raw sewage spilled from a wastewater treatment plant.

The heat wave wafted in from the Midwest — it began last weekend and did not break until Friday in Chicago — and is a suspected or confirmed cause in more than a dozen deaths around the country.

The medical examiner’s office in Chicago Friday listed heat stress or heat stroke as the cause of death for seven people.

Jake Crouch, a climatologist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said the heat wave is taking its place in duration alongside deadly hot spells in 1988 and 1995 that lasted a week or more.

Power supplies were stretched Friday, and utilities were hoping that some businesses would close early for the weekend.

Con Edison in New York set a record for power demand at 1 p.m., breaking a mark set Aug. 2, 2006, utility spokesman Bob McGhee said.

The electrical grid that serves 13 states, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region, set an all-time record Thursday for power usage.



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