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LI heat wave sets record -- but cooler temps are on the way

Beachgoers soak up some sun in Long Beach.

Beachgoers soak up some sun in Long Beach. (July 20, 2013) Credit: J. Conrad Williams

A weeklong heat wave that made life miserable for Long Islanders, buckling highways and straining the power grid, ends today.

Relatively balmy summer weather is on tap for the next few days, with highs in the mid- to low-80s, the National Weather Service said.

"Basically, a cooling trend is ahead," said Joey Picca, an Upton-based weather service meteorologist.

The high temperature yesterday was 90 degrees in Islip, making it official: a seven-day heat wave.

That eclipsed a six-day heat wave set in July 1993, and marked the longest string of 90-degree or hotter days since the service began keeping records in Islip in 1984.

In New York's Central Park, the heat wave felt short of the 12-day streak notched in 1953, according to weather service meteorologist Dan Hofmann.

Although only scattered outages were reported yesterday, sizzling temperatures spurred heavy power demand, as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners.

LIPA said yesterday's electricity demand peaked at 5,290 megawatts, the third-highest ever for a weekend day.

"That's high for a weekday; it's definitely high for weekend," said Mark Gross, LIPA spokesman.

Motorists continued to be plagued by road surfaces buckling in the intense heat.

A section of the Long Island Expressway buckled around Exit 68, for the William Floyd Parkway, prompting westbound lanes to be closed for hours. Repairs were completed and lanes reopened about 7:30 p.m.

Last week, another section of the LIE, near Manorville, also buckled in the heat.

Relief won't come just from falling temperatures. Humidity will improve as well.

"The moisture out here should be going down as well," Picca said. "It should not be nearly as oppressive."

A heat advisory was issued for the region yesterday, lasting until 8 p.m. The advisory is issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel like it's between 100 to 104 degrees for two consecutive hours.

The heat index, which takes humidity into account, was 95 in Islip and 97 in Farmingdale, Picca said.

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