It was a scorcher all right.
The mercury hit 101 degrees at Long Island MacArthur Airport Tuesday, just 1 degree short of the record since the National Weather Service began keeping records at the airport in 1984.
Yesterday's high actually was a tie for second place, because it was also 101 degrees on July 21, 1991.
For Wednesday, expect a little more of the same. A heat advisory remains in effect for Long Island between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. with temperatures expected in the upper 90s. Like Tuesday, the heat index is supposed to break 100.
It was 82 degrees in Central Islip and Shirley just before 7 a.m., according to the National Weather Service, which predicted a high of 97. By later in the afternoon, the temperatures should drop to about 90.
At Brookhaven National Laboratory, which has kept records dating to 1947, it reached 99.1 degrees Tuesday. The all-time record at the lab was 100.5 degrees on July 21, 1991, and July 22, 1957.
The blanket of heat helped Long Island set a record for power usage and was the area's third straight day of broiling temperatures.
"It's been an impressive heat wave," said Richard Castro, a meteorologist at the weather service in Upton. "Seeing temperatures exceed 100 degrees on Long Island is not a common experience."
The heat is being fueled by a high pressure system just off shore that is generating southwest winds, which typically bring warmer weather, said the weather service's Joseph Pollina.
Weather conditions were the likely cause of brush and timber fires in Oyster Bay, Manorville and Shirley, which were brought under control or put out. A fourth brush fire at the State Department of Environmental Conservation's Edgewood Preserve in Brentwood burned nearly 30 acres of the 813-acre preserve. It was expected to be extinguished by Wednesday. No one was hurt in the fire.
In the city, at 3:15 p.m., Con Edison requested customers conserve electricity by turning off equipment not being used, keeping air conditioners at 78 degrees, and running washers, dryers and dishwashers at night.
The Long Island Power Authority said it has plenty of juice to keep air conditioners rolling, but has asked the public to help conserve electricity as usage reached a historic high Tuesday.
LIPA spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said Tuesday's usage hit 5,824 megawatts - surpassing the previous high of 5,792 megawatts on Aug. 3, 2006.
Outages Tuesday peaked at 3,734 across Long Island - about 0.3 percent of LIPA's customers, largely because of trouble with equipment such as transformers and transmission lines related to the heat, Baird-Streeter said. Most customers got power returned after an hour to an hour and a half, she said.
New York Power Authority chief executive Richard Kessel, who once headed LIPA, said the state's electrical utilities are handling the heat well, but cautioned failure of a major piece of equipment could change that.
"The more electricity you use, the more of a demand it places on the system," he said.
ENERGY CONSERVATION URGED
The Long Island Power Authority has asked residents to conserve energy where possible. Here are some tips to help save both money and electricity during the heat wave.
Put air conditioners on timers so they are not being used or on a high temp during hours no one is home.
Keep air conditioners at 78 degrees.
Use fans to circulate the cool air from air conditioners.
Run major appliances, such as washers, dryers and dishwashers, during the nonpeak hours of early morning and evenings.
Clean the filter and maintain the air conditioning units.
On hot days, your attic can reach 150 degrees. Improving the ventilation in your attic will lower the temperature of the entire house, and make the air conditioner's job much easier.
- Stacey Altherr
The temperature at Brookhaven National Laboratory reached 99.1 degrees. The warmest days on record at the lab were July 21, 1991, and July 22, 1957, when temperatures reached 100.5 degrees.
Power usage on Long Island hit a record, LIPA said, surpassing the previous high on Aug. 3, 2006.
At least four brush fires broke out.