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Heat Wave

WNYC News

Beware the Light Box Effect — and Other Secrets of NYC's Microclimates

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's only a few degrees, but when a heat wave comes, variations in temperature across Manhattan could spell the difference between life and death.  

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WNYC News

Report: Local Temperatures May Exceed Historical Norms in 34 Years

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A new report says that average temperatures in New York will be hotter than ever, at least in recorded history, by the year 2047.

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WQXR Blog

Poll: Is it Ethical for Musicians to Play During a Heat Wave?

Friday, July 26, 2013

How do you think orchestras should deal with hot weather? Must the show go on when temperatures near 100? Take our poll and share your thoughts.

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WNYC News

As NY Sizzles, Con Ed Sets Record-High Peak for Electric Usage

Friday, July 19, 2013

As temperatures continued to hover in the mid-90s for a sixth day Friday, Con Ed set a new all-time record for electric usage.

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WNYC News

In Public Housing, Some Seniors Worry About Health in the Heat

Friday, July 19, 2013

The New York City Housing Authority is doing outreach to the elderly during the heat wave — but some seniors who live in public housing say the city could be doing much more.

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WNYC News

At Night, Social Scene Blossoms as Heat Brings Neighbors Outside

Friday, July 19, 2013

WNYC

Parks in New York City are keeping their sprinklers on a little longer, and keeping their gates open a little later for residents looking to keep cool during the hot summer nights.

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WNYC News

'Official' Heat Stroke Deaths in NYC Only a Glimpse of True Toll of Summer

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New York City has reported only one heat stroke death this summer. But other people have likely died due to causes related to the heat whose deaths have not been publicized in the same way.

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WNYC News

Without Power, Residents Seek Respite from the Heat

Thursday, July 18, 2013

As the intense heat leads to power outages in some parts of the city, residents are exploring strategies to stay cool.

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Transportation Nation

Uber Dispatching Ice Cream Trucks Like Taxis Friday

Thursday, July 18, 2013

WNYC

You can order an ice cream like a taxi Friday, and the truck will show up with it. 

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WNYC News

Why Cooling Centers Go Empty

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New York City opens as many as 500 or so cooling centers each time a heat wave descends. Yet, experts who have studied them say these centers do not work—or at least they do not in the way one would expect them to.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

What You Need To Know About the Heat and Your Health

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Frequently asked questions about how to stay safe in elevated temperatures.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Heat 101; Reza Aslan; An Hour With Gail Collins

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What you need to know to stay healthy and hydrated during the heat wave. Plus: Steven Dennis of Roll Call talks about what’s going on with food stamps, and the potential for limits on filibusters in Congress; Reza Aslan, associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside joins us to talk about his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and the next installment of this week's series on the Five Pillars of Islam; and New York Times columnist Gail Collins spends an hour on the show. 

WNYC News

Hottest Year on Record for Northeast

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It's the hottest year on record for New York City and the Northeast region.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Heat and Drought

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert documents this summer’s extreme climate changes—particularly heat and drought—and looks at their dire consequences.

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WNYC News

Baked Apple: Fruit Vendors Struggle With Summer Heat

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fruit vendors at green market carts around the city say they have been struggling to keep themselves cool and produce fresh in the stifling summer heat.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Second Quarter Earnings Reports, Republicans Continue to Plan ACA Repeal, and It's Hot Out

Monday, July 09, 2012

Public companies are releasing their second quarter earnings reports this week. They're a key indicator of how the economy is doing. Meanwhile, Republicans are stilling planning their strategy for repealing Obamacare.

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Transportation Nation

Don't Expect Cooling On NYC Subway Platforms -- Especially During a Heatwave

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Safety bumps on a platform's edge look like proverbial fried eggs on a hot day in the subway. (Photo by Susan NYC / flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Every summer, as the heat builds and the atmosphere in the subway acquires the texture of a hound dog's mouth, straphangers wonder why stations aren't air conditioned. If train cars are reliably cooled, the thinking goes, why can't something be done to cool customers while they wait for them?

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's answer: "Unfortunately, air conditioning of subway stations is not feasible due to the open nature of their construction and the impossibility of cooling an infinite space." Spokeswoman Marjorie Anders explained that the system is open, in part, to cool it: the movement of trains pushes hot air from the tunnels out through vents in city sidewalks.

The exception is Grand Central Terminal, which has air conditioning in The Main Concourse, an enormous central space through which 75,000 to 100,000 passengers pass daily. Anders said seven huge cooling towers on the terminal's roof work in tandem with dozens of temperature sensors to cool the hall. She said that's easier to accomplish at the start of summer because "the building isn’t heat-soaked yet. The concrete, limestone and marble are still cool to the touch."

Ms. Anders spoke by phone from an office at the NY MTA's Midtown headquarters that had been darkened, she claimed, to save energy. She said that though The Main Concourse is air-conditioned, the gigantic underground train shed at Grand Central Terminal, which holds 123 tracks and 46 platforms, is not.

Ushers keep doors between the terminal and the platforms closed when trains aren’t actively boarding or unloading. And conductors on the trains only open one door per car when a train is in Grand Central.

The NY MTA is also coping with the heat wave by reducing the speed of subway trains and reducing electrical usage by shutting down several substations that supply power to the system's third rails. That means subways are moving a little bit slower.

The authority says it cuts back on power during heat waves between noon and 6 pm at the request of the New York State Power Authority.

On subway lines, passengers may notice reduced elevator and escalator service, to conserve energy. Some contracts with energy providers require the NY MTA to reduce power consumption during heat waves.

The authority will also be running trains at reduced speed on Metro-North's New Haven Line, which is powered by overhead catenary wires that droop in extreme heat. "Trains are slowed so that pantographs – arm-like apparatus on the roof of the trains that draw the power from the catenary - do not get ensnared in catenary wires," a spokesman said.

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WNYC News

Heat Kills Eleven in NYC This Summer

Friday, August 12, 2011

Eleven people are reported to have have died from the heat this summer in New York City.

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Transportation Nation

Connecticut's Aging Rail Technology Is Causing Breakdowns From Both Heat and Cold

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Haven Line train.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Performance on a major New York commuter rail line during last week's heat wave was a tale of the two states it serves. Outdated technology in Connecticut led to multiple train breakdowns and stranded passengers on the New Haven Line, which connects that state to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. One train stalled between stations when overhead power lines sagged and tangled, leaving passengers sweltering and stuck for almost an hour.

All the while, trains on New York tracks ran smoothly.

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority says that's because New York State invested early last decade in a new overhead power system that automatically takes up the slack when wires start drooping in the heat. New York also bought new train cars that held up fairly well during the Northeast's bitter and blizzardy winter of 2010-2011.

MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said Connecticut did neither, and paid for it during both seasons.

The authority was forced to curtail service on the New Haven line by 10 percent in January when the old trains broke down faster than Connecticut's cramped work yards could repair them. But Metro-North's Harlem Line, which runs newer trains purchased by New York in 2000, didn't have those problems.

Similarly, New York invested in overhauling its overhead power system for trains in the last decade. Towers that hold up the wires now have counterweights that lower and tighten the wires when they sag. Connecticut has no such system. Last week, the NY MTA tried to prevent the overhead lines from tangling by ordering trains on its lines to slow from a normal cruising speed of 70 m.p.h. to 50 m.p.h. It worked in New York but not Connecticut.

Ms. Anders said the overhead wires provide electrical current by making contact with a four-foot wide metal bar on the top of a train. Last Friday's high temperature of 104 degrees caused the overhead wires in Connecticut to sag so much that they slipped off the side of the metal bar on some trains and tangled, cutting off power and halting those trains.

"It goes without saying that antique fleet and an antique infrastructure and power system is not going to perform well in any temperature or weather extremes, whether it's snow or heat," she said.

Connecticut has been trying to catch up. Governor Dannel Malloy agreed to spend $400 million dollars on new overhead wires and $750 million dollars on new train cars better suited to the cold weather. The new cars have started arriving but the new overhead power system won't be done until 2016.

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Features

City Heatwave Causes Air Conditioner Shortage at Retail Stores

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An air conditioning unit has lately been the hottest -- or coolest -- commodity around town. But to the dismay of many overheated residents looking to buy or replace a broken AC unit, they've all but sold out in area retail stores.

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