East Coast bakes in heat wave
The East Coast broiled under an unforgiving sun Tuesday as the temperature soared above 100 degrees in several cities.
NEW YORK — How hot was it Tuesday on the East Coast?
"I feel like I'm taking an endless hot-yoga class, fully clothed," sighed 28-year-old Marcy Leash, emerging from the subway in Manhattan's Union Square.
"It's like driving into a hair dryer," Alex Goren, 70, wrote in a text message as he tooled around Long Island's swanky East End with the top down on his red convertible.
"It feels like I'm standing behind a muffler out here," said Megan Heltzel, 23, standing on a street corner in Washington, D.C.
"Hydrate," President Obama reminded a group of reporters as they left the Oval Office at the White House.
For the third day in a row, triple-digit temperatures created insufferably hot, sticky conditions across the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. With people returning to work after the July 4 weekend, energy companies were asking users to crank down air conditioners Tuesday to conserve energy.
The temperature broke records for the day in New York, where it hit 103, and in Philadelphia, where it reached 102.
It was also over 100 in cities from Richmond, Va., to Boston, and Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn., and set records.
Con Edison, which serves New York City and Westchester County, suggested setting thermostats at 78 degrees instead of 71. "Putting the A/C up just a few degrees makes a big difference," said Elizabeth Clark of Con Ed.
"We're melting," Betsy Rapoport, a book editor who lives in White Plains, wrote in an e-mail Tuesday after leaving her bedroom air conditioner on the "energy saver" setting overnight.
Heat advisories are in effect through Wednesday, and meteorologists are not expecting cool coastal breezes to provide relief until Friday.
The heat wave has been blamed for the deaths of a 92-year-old Philadelphia woman and a homeless woman in Detroit, according to The Associated Press.
The temperature in Central Park, usually one of the city's cooler spots, reached a record 100 degrees by mid-Tuesday, but AccuWeather.com meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said the humidity made it feel more like 111.
"This is by far the most substantial heat wave of the past decade around here," Sosnowski said. "For the old-timers, it falls short of the memorable ones of the 1930s and '50s. But any time we get a several-day stretch like this ... even staying out of the sun without air conditioning is dangerous."
One octogenarian who wouldn't be slowed by the sun was the queen of England, who came to New York Tuesday for the first time in 30 years to address the United Nations and pay tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In the late afternoon, the hottest part of the day, Queen Elizabeth II, 84, laid a wreath at Ground Zero, now mostly a construction site filled with heavy machinery and the metal frameworks for new buildings. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and white gloves, she greeted and chatted with several victims' relatives — and was about the only person at the ceremony who didn't appear flushed in the blazing sun.
Nile Berry, 17, whose father, David, died in the attacks, marveled at her composure. "I think it's something about being royal," Berry said. "You don't sweat at all."
A certain segment of the public might look at the thermometer and blame global warming, but the two things aren't necessarily related, said Gavin Schmidt, at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University.
"One winter, one heat wave, one snowstorm is not significant. You need statistics over a decade," he said, noting that day-to-day weather and global temperature are two different things.
That said, he added, "the planet is getting warmer. 2000-2009 was the warmest since the 1850s. And the last 12 months seem to be the warmest."
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.