At 93, LI breaks daily temperature record
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The thermometer saw so much red Friday that it broke a 1999 record high at Islip, setting off a domino chain of heat-related oppression with traffic jams, polluted waters and power outages on Long Island.
The temperature hit 93 degrees at the Long Island MacArthur Airport, edging past the record of 92 set for the day 14 years ago, according to the National Weather Service in Upton.
On top of that, thunderstorms, wind, lightning and quarter-sized hail rolled across Suffolk's North Shore in the afternoon.
At one point, about 7,200 Suffolk residents were without air-conditioning and working fans after the hit-and-run storms felled wires and caused power outages, said Mark Gross, spokesman for the Long Island Power Authority.
The state broke a record in electricity usage Friday, with the hourly average peak load at 33,955 megawatts between 3 to 4 p.m., surpassing the 33,939 megawatts set on Aug. 2, 2006, according to the New York Independent System Operator, which manages the state's bulk electricity grid.
Not just people but major roadways collapsed in the heat. Road buckling on the westbound Long Island Expressway left only one lane open between exits 67 and 68 in Yaphank during the evening rush.
Drivers, even as they basked in their vehicles' air-conditioning, were challenged by downed wires and traffic signal outages in several spots, including the Motor Parkway, from Commack to the Long Island Expressway in Hauppauge, Suffolk police said.
It was the sixth day of the heat wave on the Island.
But thanks to the humidity, Friday felt the hottest, said meteorologist David Stark in Upton. The heat index -- how hot it really feels to us -- was 107 degrees in Farmingdale and 106 at MacArthur Airport.
For many, going to Jones Beach Friday would have been like getting more ice in winter -- so they didn't.
Attendance there fell by half this week, said George Gorman, Long Island deputy regional director for state parks.
Jones Beach draws visitors traveling by train and bus from New York City, Gorman said, but not so much Friday: "It's just too hot for that."
For those planning a waterside break, the Suffolk County Heath Department issued an advisory against bathing at 20 beaches, worried that stormwater runoff has led to harmful levels of bacteria.
Nassau County has extended through Sunday the later closing times at major outdoor swimming pools.
High temperatures Saturday should be in the low 90s, before heavy rains and thunderstorms drop temperatures into the mid-80s Sunday.
With Mark Harrington, Nicholas Spangler
and Gary Dymski