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City Officials Warn New Yorkers to Stay Cool, Conserve Energy

By Jeff Mays | July 29, 2015 3:47pm
 A woman naps on 52nd Street in Midtown during the second day of the heatwave on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
A woman naps on 52nd Street in Midtown during the second day of the heatwave on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers to stay cool while conserving energy as the temperature is expected to climb into the mid-90s Wednesday.

"There's a big strain on our electrical grid," de Blasio said at a City Hall press conference.

The mayor urged New Yorkers to set their thermostats to 78 degrees in order to prevent power outages, but also to stay hydrated and cool as the mercury jumps.

De Blasio said the city was leading the way by setting the thermostat at City Hall and other municipal buildings to 78 degrees.

"The city is going to take a number of steps to conserve," he said. "We want everyday New Yorkers to do the same thing."

The National Weather Service issued a high heat advisory that will remain in effect through 8 p.m. Thursday. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to upper 90s.

Prolonged exposure to heat and humidity can cause heat stroke, a potentially life threatening condition.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said 80 percent of heat stroke death in New York City in recent years occurred in homes without air conditioners. The city has 500 cooling centers where people without air conditioning can cool down. Locations can be found by calling 311.

A cool bath or shower can also help. Residents should be on the lookout for signs of heat stroke in the elderly, sick and infants such as confusion and hot and dry skin or cold and clammy skin.

"This is a medical emergency and the right way to respond to anyone with these symptoms is to call 911," said Basset. "We have some hot days ahead."

Joe Esposito, commissioner for the Office of Emergency Management, said there were about 1,000 customers without power throughout the city because of power feeder problems in Brooklyn.

He expected Con Edison would restore service by this afternoon.

During last week's heat wave, 18,000 Staten Island customers representing 100,000 people lost power.

Esposito said the city was prepared with teams to respond should something similar happen.

"We did this last week so it's like deja vu all over again," said Esposito.