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As Queens officially entered heat wave territory Tuesday, residents across the borough were doing everything they could to battle the high temperatures — from dousing themselves with water to jumping in the pool and eating ice cream.
Temperatures reached 101 degrees Tuesday at LaGuardia Airport, which was the third straight day in the borough of 90 degrees or above — the definition of a heat wave.
Con Edison spokesman Alfonso Quiroz said 128 Queens customers out of 620,000 were without power at midday and pointed out that energy consumption reached 12,723 megawatts as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, only about 200 megawatts lower than the all-time record of 12,992 megawatts hit Aug. 2, 2003, at 5 p.m.
“We’re expecting to reach an all-time peak (Tuesday), but we’re not encouraging it,” Quiroz said.
The consumption record for this year was made June 28, when 12,680 megawatts of power was used, he said.
Quiroz said the utility is asking customers to conserve energy by putting off doing laundry and loading dishwashers until nighttime, when energy demand is not as high as it is during the day.
Quiroz said fans should be used instead of air conditioners because they use less electricity and he suggested residents draw their blinds, which keeps the sun out and makes a room cooler.
At a Bell Boulevard construction site near 39th Avenue, construction worker Pedro Santana of the Bronx said he and his co-workers had consumed more than a dozen bottles of water, Gatorade and Pedialyte in a two-hour stretch while working on a new sewer.
“We got [water], we got Gatoratde, we got Pedialyte and we’re lucky,” said Santana, 38. “We’re under shade.”
But that did not stop Santana from dripping sweat.
“I’m just constantly flowing, constantly sweating,” he said. “It’s crazy.”
Greg Szempruch, manager of Maggie Moo’s in Bayside, said the ice cream shop has seen an increase in customers due to the heat wave.
“We try to get people to come in because it’s hot out,” he said. “We offer cold drinks and smoothies as an alternative to swimming in a pool. We help people keep cool.”
Szempruch said milk shakes and fresh escape, an ice cream flavor that tastes like cake mix, have been popular choices during the heat wave.
Karen Mahadeo, a teacher from Floral Park, said she chose the red velvet with chocolate fudge ice cream to stay cool.
She said she spent the July Fourth weekend indoors or in a pool.
“We made sure we found people with a pool or we found air conditioning inside,” she said.
The city Health Department warned city residents that extreme heat can be more than a nuisance: It can be fatal.
Seniors and those with chronic health conditions are most at risk for heat-related illnesses, the agency said, and suggested residents stay in air-conditioned places.
“People should drink fluids, avoid excessive time outdoors, check on their neighbors and call 311 or check the Office of Emergency Management website to find cooling centers,” the agency said in an e-mail.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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