Annmarie Fertoli, Associate Producer, WNYC News
Annmarie Fertoli is an Associate Producer at WNYC, working with the afternoon news team to produce All Things Considered.
The metropolitan area is under an excessive heat watch through Friday evening — and Con Ed is telling New Yorkers to brace for heat-related power outages.
Hundreds of customers in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx experienced power outages Thursday, according to the city's energy provider.
John Miksad, senior vice president of Con Ed electric operations, said the system bears the brunt of the heat wave because it's underground — beneath asphalt, concrete and steel.
"What's a 100 degrees on the sidewalk is a 130 degrees underneath. And then the additional demand that all of our cables are pulling also create heat," he said.
Con Ed expects to be at the peak energy demand for 2011 Friday, when temperatures will be above 100 degrees.
Soaring temps underground knocked out countdown clocks at 12 subway stations on Thursday.
The MTA said clocks are wired to communication rooms at the stations, where the build-up of heat over several days can exceed 120 degrees. When that threshold is approached, MTA workers turn off the equipment before it is damaged, leaving straphangers on the platform to use the old-fashioned way of figuring out when the next train is coming: guessing.
The MTA said technicians are installing cooling systems in some of the equipment rooms, though it couldn’t say when the darkened clocks will be turned back on.
Meteorologist John Murray urged New Yorkers to take serious precautions: "Reschedule strenuous activities to the early morning or evening," he said. "Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light-weight and loose-fitting clothing when possible. Drink plenty of water."
Murray said the recent heat wave that hit the Midwest is now headed east. He predicts the high temperatures could ease up slightly on Sunday, with highs in the low 90s.
The city has opened cooling centers through Saturday. To find one near you, visit nyc.gov, or call 311.
With reporting by Jim O'Grady