Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

East Swelters on Heat Kills at Least 8, Triggers Blackouts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

East Swelters on Heat Kills at Least 8, Triggers Blackouts

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Temperatures climbed to 100 steamy degrees in the East for the third day in a row yesterday, triggering blackouts and making for an unpleasant return to work for people who spent the holiday weekend in shorts and T-shirts.

At least eight deaths have been blamed on the heat in the Midwest and East. The heat also stalled trains in New York and forced summer schools to send children home early.

"It feels like somebody's thrown buckets of hot water in your face," griped elevator operator Pat Renaghan, running a stuffy lift to a deep subway station in New York City. "Sometimes when you take the elevator down, the air feels so thick, you feel like you could chew it."

High temperature records started falling before the sun even reached its peak, as Atlantic City, N.J., hit 98 before noon, with humidity of about 40 percent. The mercury hit record highs of 100 at Newark, N.J., and Harrisburg, Pa., 101 in New York City, 102 in Raleigh, N.C., and 103 at Washington's Reagan National Airport.

Across the East, relief was expected today, with New Yorkers looking forward to highs in the 80s the rest of the week. In New England, temperatures plunged as severe thunderstorms swept through with wind and rain. Hail fell in some places.

The heat worsened the return to the office after the long Fourth of July weekend of bathing suits and bare feet.

"It's hard," George Matthew, a Philadelphia lawyer, said as sweat poured down his cheeks after he ran outside to feed a parking meter. "I'd rather be at home in shorts and a T-shirt under the air conditioning."

Kurt Foster wasn't burdened with a suit and tie, but was stuck wielding a king-size blowtorch, sealing waterproofing materials for street repairs at New York's Rockefeller Center.

"I didn't want to come in, but the bills don't stop just because it's hot," Foster said.

Philadelphia school officials sent hundreds of summer-school students home early because many buildings had no air conditioning.

Timothy Hearn checked himself into a Philadelphia hospital yesterday. He almost passed out in the heat Monday while painting a house in Cherry Hill, N. …

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