Children trying to cool down
A blistering heat wave finally showed signs of letting up across the U.S. Midwest and Northeast on Sunday, bringing relief to millions after days of oppressive temperatures - just as forecasters warned that a new round of record highs could soon bake western states, reports Reuters.
"It's going to start as soon as tomorrow - really everybody in the Rockies is going to see this heat," said Alan Reppert, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com. He said a high pressure system developing over the Rockies will cause temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 C) in Salt Lake City by Wednesday.
A slow-moving front of cool air from Canada started pushing down temperatures Sunday from Minneapolis to Detroit to Pittsburgh. The temperature in Chicago, which saw three consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures in the past week, was a pleasant 82 degrees (25 C) early Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service
New York City and Philadelphia still were hot Sunday, although not as oppressive as in days past, according to the NWS, with highs in the lower 90s.
Thunderstorms were expected Sunday afternoon from Maryland on south, with storms in the area for most of the week. The storms also will affect the central and southern Plains states, Reppert said.
The blistering heat wave that scorched much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation with triple-digit temperatures has tied or broken nearly 3,400 maximum and minimum temperature records across the country in July, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
Dozens of people have died, including a 4-month-old Indiana girl who police say was left in a car outside her home in Greenfield, about 25 miles east of Indianapolis, for an extended period of time when temperatures were above 100 degrees (38 C).
Lack of rainfall plus extreme heat is threatening the Midwest's corn crop and leading to wildfires. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, released Thursday, showed drought encompassing more of the contiguous United States than at any other time since the report began in January 2000.
The Midwest is expected to stay mostly dry this coming week, Reppert said.
The cool-off of temperatures will be slower in the mid-Atlantic because of the slow speed of the Canadian cold front as it moves south, according to Accuweather.
Power outages continue to plague more than 127,000 customers, primarily in West Virginia. About 31,000 AEP Ohio customers remained without power as of Sunday morning.
About 10,200 FirstEnergy customers are without power in New Jersey Sunday following storms Saturday night.
In West Virginia, where some people have been without power since violent storms hit more than a week ago, Appalachian Power said on its website that nearly 41,500 customers were still without electricity as of late Sunday morning, along with almost 11,500 customers in Virginia.
There were still 34,000 homes and businesses without power in FirstEnergy's West Virginia territory.