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Heat wave grips Central New York

By JOLEEN FERRIS

The mercury is rising from uncomfortable, to potentially dangerous, as a heat wave grips central New York. For some who must function in a triple-digit-degree workplace, the heat is even more unbearable.

"Where our employees are working right now, unloading the trucks, the road temperature right there is about 126 degrees," said Ed Roser, Health & Safety Coordinator for the state Department of Transportation. The material that's coming off the back of those trucks is about 300 degrees, right now, 3, 320, right in that ball park,"

A heat wave with temperatures inching perilously close to 100 degrees is no match for the state D.O.T. summer roadwork season. Crews spent the hottest part of the day laying blacktop on Route 49 near the Riverside Center in north Utica. The workers stayed cool by drinking spring water, taking frequent breaks and rotating in and out.

By mid-afternoon, the temperature had reached 98 degrees. The heat index, which reflects how the air actually feels and is calculated using a formula which adds humidity to air temperature, was 107.

A more enviable job during a heat wave is that of lifeguard. Matt Burke had few complaints keeping swimmers safe at Seymour Pool in north Utica on Thursday.

"We get to go swimming on our break, that's the cool part," Burke said. "We're sitting in certain chairs it gets a little more hot than other times. I mean it's a nice job. You're outside, get a nice tan."

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