July 6th, 2010
12:56 PM ET

Power outages, death reported in Northeast heat wave


[Updated at 9:03 p.m.]

Power outages in Connecticut, rail service disruptions in Washington and warnings to conserve electricity in New York City marked the second day of the Northeast heat wave.

As many as 9,000 customers of Connecticut Light and Power in Stamford were without electrical service Tuesday, according to the power company's website. A heat-related transformer failure at a substation in Stamford caused the outage, according to a spokeswoman for the utility company. Power could be restored by midnight, she said.

With temperatures near or above 100 along the seaboard Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a heat alert for Washington and parts of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. Similar temperatures are expected in those areas on Wednesday.

The heat wave has claimed the life of at least one person. A 92-year-old Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, woman died as a result of the heat this week, according to a spokesman with the city's medical examiner's office.

In Washington, at least one rail line was delayed when Metrorail officials found a "heat kink" on the Red Line. A kink occurs in extremely hot weather when overheated tracks expand but can't be constrained by cross ties or ballast, and when a kink is found, train speed is reduced to ensure passenger safety, Metro said. Track inspectors will continue to monitor all conditions should other tracks become affected.

New York residents are being encouraged to conserve electricity during the heat wave, according to officials with Con Ed Power. "We are on the brink of setting a record in peak electricity use," said Con Ed spokesman John Miksad, "but it's not a record we are hoping to break."

Read the full CNN.com story about the heat wave

[Updated at 5:09 p.m.] Racing officials at New York's Belmont Park won't be taking any chances with the heat wave that has hit the eastern seaboard with triple-digit temperatures.

The park in Elmont, New York, has canceled its live horse racing program scheduled for Wednesday because of excessive heat, the New York Racing Association said. The facility still will be open for people wanting to watch simulcasts of races at other parks, and for internet wagering.

Nine races had been planned at Belmont for Wednesday afternoon, according to the racing association's website.

[Posted at 12:56 p.m.] The National Weather Service has reported that temperatures are expected to surpass 100 degrees in the Northeast, prompting emergency services to go into double time from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C. Heat indexes, which include humidity levels, are forecast to reach 107 degrees.

The sweltering forecast prompted Amtrak to set up a contingency plan for its Northeast Corridor routes.

"Rescue locomotives with assigned crews have been positioned every 30 to 50 miles along the Northeast Corridor and will be mobilized immediately" if trains break down or lose air conditioning, Amtrak said in a statement.

Amtrak's plan includes identifying passengers with special needs and reporting information to their national service center to consistently revise and improve procedures. In addition, there will be constant monitoring of onboard conditions, additional fluids on trains and improved emergency routes.

The extra precautions follow an event on Monday afternoon that left Amtrak passengers stranded in the heat.

An Amtrak train carrying 610 passengers from Boston’s South Station to Washington lost power at the Larchmont station in New York, leaving passengers without air conditioning for two hours. Police were on the scene to help heat exhausted passengers on board.

An Amtrak diesel rescue engine arrived at 3:40 pm Monday to help get the train up and running again.

A heat advisory is in affect in the tri-state area of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey until 8 pm Wednesday. City officials at the New York Office of Emergency Management and Utility have advised citizens to consistently drink liquids and visit local cooling centers to reduce excessive energy use from air conditioners.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Fire Grate ·

    most modern air conditioners are not guzzlers of electricity and are energy star certified `

    November 7, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
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