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SWELTERING!

SIMONE BARNES | 4/12/2011, 5:29 p.m.

Brown outs? Potential for black outs? Train tracks expanding and overhead wires sagging. Segments of the city left without power for hours. News reporters frying eggs on the sidewalk and hydrants unleashed...

New York City braced itself for uncomfortably oppressive weather this week. Hundreds of stories of varying degrees of can-you-believe-this-heat-querying are leading news broadcasts all up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

The sweltering heat has arrived. Over the last few days, Gotham has been hit with heat wave temperatures as high as 103 degrees Fahrenheit, as reported by Con Edison. The power company advised customers that when experiencing weather like this, serious precaution is needed. According to their phone line, it is advised that residents "check on the elderly, disabled and children" because the heat can cause serious health risks to those groups in particular.

On its website, Con Edison listed tips on how to remain cool, safe and, most importantly, preserve energy to prevent power outages throughout this heat. For example, "To reduce heat and moisture, run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night, when it's generally cooler. Use a microwave to cook, or barbecue outside if possible."

During a heat wave like this, it is very easy to lose power due to the excessive use of electricity.

Con Ed advised people to take proper precautions not to overuse any appliance in the household, unplug cell phone wires that are not in use and raise the thermostat on air conditioners. These simple changes can create a difference in the use of energy and will help lower any risk of a power outage. There have been reports of several power outages in some parts of the five boroughs. Con Ed addressed irate customers who wanted to know what was going on with the outages and the reduction of power in certain areas. The Wakefield section of the Bronx experienced a small power outage early on Tuesday morning. Con Ed said, "This was caused by the warming of wires, which then led to the overload of the system, which then resulted in it shutting down completely."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that visiting cooling and recreational centers are among the best ways to escape the heat. These are free places that provide residents with an unlimited amount of air conditioning. Dianne Henderson, the director of the St. Nicholas Senior Center on 210 West 131st Street, holds an open cooling center for the neighborhood. She has taken action to inform the people by posting signs letting everyone know that they are welcome. She describes her cooling center as having "everything from television to computers," which keeps the visitors busy and entertained as they cool off. She says that although there were few people there the first day, she "expects that more people will come and take advantage" of this center as long as the heat wave continues.

Borough presidents Ruben Diaz (Bronx) and Scott Stringer (Manhattan) advised residents to make use of the helpful tips displayed through the news and other information outlets.