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In Brief

NYC Heat Wave Prompts Record Electricity Use

dealing with humidity, humid weather, uncomfortable humid weather
Humidity is uncomfortable because it holds moisture to our bodies, not allowing us to cool. (Image credit: Dreamstime.)

In the midst of a July Fourth holiday weekend heat wave, New York City set a record for Sunday electricity use, as overheated New Yorkers sought relief with their air conditioners.

Actual temperatures reached into the mid-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celsius), with the heat index reaching a whopping 105 F (40 C). As the heat rose, air conditioners were cranked up, and Con Edison reported a Sunday electricity use record of 11,241 megawatts (MW) at 6 p.m. That consumption milestone replaced the previous record of 10,866 MW set on August 14, 2005, according to a Con Ed release. The all-time record of 13,189 MW was set on Friday, July 22, 2011, at 4 p.m.

The heat wave in the East followed a similar heat wave out west last month, which resulted in the hottest June day ever recorded in the United States, with the mercury rising to 129 F (54 C) in Death Valley in California. That heat wave exacerbated dangerous wildfire conditions in the region.

Andrea Thompson
Andrea Thompson

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.