It's yet another unbearable day of the heat and humidity wave across the New York City region, and we're at the point where your phone is blowing up with loud alerts—like the one the city blasted out to New Yorkers just after 4:15 p.m.—asking people to conserve energy. The emergency alert read: "NYC is urging all households and businesses to immediately limit energy usage to prevent power outages as the intense heat continues. Please avoid the use of energy-intensive appliances such as washers, dryers, and microwaves. Limit unnecessary use of air conditioning."
Earlier today Con Edison asked customers to conserve energy and report outages online or by calling 800-75-CONED. There are currently over 2,400 customers who have lost power, according to the utility's outage map, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens.
The National Weather Service says that the June 30th weather record has been broken at LaGuardia Airport (which hit 98 degrees) and Newark (101 degrees!).
The combination of heat and humidity are causing the heat index to increase to concerning levels. The NWS explains that the heat index, which is also known as "apparent temperature," is "what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature."
This has important considerations for the human body's comfort. When the body gets too hot, it begins to perspire or sweat to cool itself off. If the perspiration is not able to evaporate, the body cannot regulate its temperature. Evaporation is a cooling process. When perspiration is evaporated off the body, it effectively reduces the body's temperature. When the atmospheric moisture content (i.e. relative humidity) is high, the rate of evaporation from the body decreases. In other words, the human body feels warmer in humid conditions.
During a press briefing this morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio also called on New Yorkers to reduce their energy usage.
"We do not want to see things go from bad to worse," he said. "We've already seen some localized power outages. We do not want to see it get worse. This is a really big strain placed on our electric system for this level of heat for this amount of days."
According to de Blasio, Con Edison believed some demand issues were "just a localized challenge in a few neighborhoods" (last night, Con Ed asked customers in Western Queens and on the Upper West Side to reduce their energy consumption) but since "they've come to the conclusion it's a bigger challenge just because of the intensity of the heat and, again, the cumulative impact of four days in a row, which is not typical."
De Blasio said that, for now, Con Ed's "equipment is holding well... but we need people to take action now, we do not want to press the limit of the system."
In 2019, Con Ed came under scrutiny once again after a series of blackouts — and by the end of July, Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “I can’t trust them at this point.”
Additional reporting by Chloe Li