10 20 2014
  10:19 pm  
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No, rubber banding an ice tray on your belly won't help. Frozen water bottles in front of a fan won't either.

This heat is a beast.

A hot, humid beast that's bear-hugging the northeast quarter of the United States. And Wednesday, it'll just squeeze us tighter.

The high temperature and humidity will drive up the heat index into the 100 degree range. That's a measure of how hot it feels to your body -- and in Philadelphia, it could feel like a broiling 110 degrees.

The tired, sweating masses

In Washington D.C., the heat will bump ozone levels to code orange, posing a danger for children, the elderly and people suffering from heart and lung disease.

On Tuesday, the odor of sweating masses of tourists added a certain ambiance to the national monuments at the height of tourist season. Not that Washingtonians need another reason to complain about tourists, one resident joked.

Complaints flooded social media about subway cars with broken air conditioning units. After a long day in the office, commuters were treated to an unexpected sweat lodge session on the way home.

Beat the heat

The sauna-like conditions are driving people to desperate measures to beat it.

The most obvious: Crank up the air conditioning.

So many New Yorkers are doing it that they're close to setting a new record for electricity usage, utility officials said.

Electricity provider Con Edison's record is 13,189 megawatts, set on July 22, 2011.

Current consumption is apparently challenging the grid.

Con Edison faced a bump in outages, and sent crews hustling to restore power to more than 7,600 customers since the heat rose Sunday.

Fly away

If parking in front of the air conditioner isn't cutting it, try to fly away.

JetBlue is offering "hot seats" promotions whenever the temperature in New York breaks 90 degrees.

They went like hotcakes Tuesday. Sorry, "Sold out today," read a banner plastered over JetBlue's website.

But the special runs through Saturday. So there's hope yet.

Dangerous heat

The National Weather Service defines a heat wave as two or more days of "abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather."

And levity aside, it can have deadly consequences.

Anyone who's lived in New York in 1972 will tell you that. A two-week wave killed 891 people then.

Fortunately, this wave hasn't claimed any lives. But the New York Fire Department did respond to 37 heat-related incidents on Monday and 25 more as of late Tuesday.

The Red Cross and the New York City mayor's office are warning people to stay in cool spaces and drink plenty of water.

The city has opened cooling centers for those who don't have access to air conditioning.

Hanging around

The oppressive heat is expected to hang around at least through Friday.

The weekend in the Northeast will bring rain.

Rain, sweet rain.

 

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