US heat wave crashes power systems
The US East Coast and parts of the Mid-West and Canada sweltered Tuesday in temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius and higher amidst power outages from record demand and rising health concerns, dpa reported.
Temperatures peaked at 41.1 degrees in Frederick, Maryland, about 50 km north of Washington, DC, and reached 39.44 degrees in New York City, according to AccuWeather and other weather reports.
Philadelphia, Washington DC and Philadelphia saw temperatures reach 38 degrees, prolonging a two-week-long heat spell that has seen daytime temperatures rarely drop below 30 degrees.
High demand for air conditioners caused power outages in New York City and Washington. Thousands of buildings in Manhattan Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island lost electricity on Tuesday, according to the local New York broadcaster NY 1.
Queen Elizabeth II, in New York to address the UN General Assembly and lay a wreath at the Ground Zero site of the 2001 terrorist attacks, made it through the day without being affected by the outages.
But on Monday, as she wrapped up a week-long visit in Canada, power crashed across large swathes of Toronto, including the hotel where she was staying.
On Capitol Hill in Washington, the power shut down about midnight Monday and stayed out through the night, local residents said.
Health officials in the nation's capital deployed workers to check on people, especially the elderly, thought to be alone and without air conditioning. They handed out bottles of cold water, broadcast reports showed.
At the Washington monument, the city set up sprinklers to cool down tourists.
In New York, a transformer on Staten Island could not handle the demands, symbolic of a power infrastructure that is in need of updating nationwide. In August 2003, a massive blackout hit the entire East Coast, US Mid-west and parts of Canada, affecting 55 million people.
Forecasters expected record power demands of 13,500 megawatts on Tuesday in New York. The all time record demand was August 2, 2006, when 13,100 megawatts were used.
Some Manhattan buildings rationed power by running only one instead of six or eight elevators. And New York public swimming pools were planning to stay open as late as possible, NBC news reported.
The forecast calls for some cooling on the weekend, followed by a return to soaring temperatures.