Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Record Heat Wave Gripping Central U.S.

A Record heat wave is gripping the central part of the U.S. From Texas to the Dakotas, and east to Illinois and Indiana, temperatures and humidity levels soared on Monday and were expected to remain high through at least the end of the week, by which time forecasters say the East Coast will get to share the misery. Seventeen states issued excessive-heat watches on Monday, with a number of upper Midwest states expecting temperatures higher than 105 degrees. The heat wave is sending people to the hospital, damaging roads and causing air-conditioning bills to skyrocket.

It felt like 126 degrees in Newton, Iowa, on Monday; 120 degrees in Mitchell, S.D.; and 119 degrees in Madison, Minn., according to The Associated Press.

In Iowa, six people were hospitalized due to heat and humidity as of Sunday, where the top recorded temperature hit 99 degrees over the weekend, about 10 degrees above the average temperature for this time of year.

On an interstate bridge in Oklahoma City, heat caused steel expansion joints to buckle and rise, which closed two lanes of the highway downtown and damaged some cars.

Temperatures in the city have been unrelenting, with more than 47 straight days of 90-degree-plus temperatures, and 27 days so far that have crept into the triple digits.

City officials in Detroit and Chicago, where temperatures are expected to hit 105 degrees, have opened cooling centers to provide residents without air conditioning in their homes a place to stay cool.

A handful of cities set highs records last week. On June 15, Tallahassee hit 105 degrees and Alpena, Mich., sweltered in the high 90s. On June 26, both Borger, Texas, and Gage, Okla., reached 113 degrees.

The sizzling Midwest heat doesn't look to let up this week, but will move east by Wednesday or Thursday, forecasters say. Extreme heat is expected to bake the eastern United States by week's end. Bloomberg News reports that temperatures may reach about 100 degrees in New York this week.


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