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    Punishing Heat Interrupts Power, Travel

    By Kirstie Hettinga, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    July 07, 2010, 3:58:52 AM EDT

    Punishing heat in the East today will continue to prompt power outages and illness, though AccuWeather.com meteorologists expect a slight break in temperatures to come this weekend.

    High humidity, which will keep conditions uncomfortable, will persist.

    Con Edison took precautionary measures by reducing voltage to neighborhoods in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Queens, N.Y. Close to half a million residents were impacted by voltage reductions of 5 to 8 percent beginning around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

    Con Ed spokeswoman Sara Banda indicated that the New York power company did not exceed the record usage of 13,141 megawatts set in August of 2006.

    However, Banda said there was still a chance for that usage record to be broken later this week.

    Banda also said that the voltage reductions were still in place Wednesday morning.

    At least 1,000 residents were still without power in Connecticut as of 7 a.m. Wednesday morning after as many as 9,000 experienced blackouts Tuesday.

    Connecticut Light and Power reported a transformer failure at a Stamford substation as the heat-related cause.

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    Travel was also interrupted by the heat in several areas along the East Coast.

    As of 7 a.m. EDT, the New Jersey Transit released a rail service update that stated, "Due to equipment problems related to the extreme heat, NJ TRANSIT is advising rail customers to expect delays and cancellations during the morning commute of Wednesday, July 7, 2010."

    Delays were also reported on Washington's Metrorail Tuesday. The death of a 92-year-old Philadelphia woman has been attributed to the heat. The woman was found Monday by a neighbor. On Sunday, a woman in Detroit also reportedly died from heat-related issues.

    Con Ed spokesperson Banda said the company was continuing to encourage people to be energy efficient and recommended setting thermostats no lower than 78 degrees and reserving the use of large appliances such as dishwashers for early in the morning or late at night.

    Temperature records were broken all along the Eastern Seaboard Tuesday, with Baltimore, Newark, Philadelphia and Atlantic City all reporting record-breaking, 100-plus temperatures.

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