Monday, July 2, 2012

Eastern US battles heat wave amid storms and power outages

Reuters: Blistering heat blanketed much of the eastern United States for the third straight day on Sunday, after violent storms that took at least 15 lives and knocked out power to more than 3 million customers.

Emergencies were declared in Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., on Saturday because of damage from storms that unleashed hurricane-force winds across and a 500-mile (800-km) stretch of the mid-Atlantic region.

The storms' rampage came as sweltering temperatures topped 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in several southern cities, including Atlanta, where the mercury hit an all-time record of 106 degrees (41 Celsius) on Saturday and reached 105 on Sunday.

Over two dozen cities across 10 states set or tied all-time record high temperatures on Friday and Saturday, including Columbia, South Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Raleigh, North Carolina. The heat wave continued on Sunday for millions of people from the Plains to the mid-Atlantic. One of the hardest hit cities was Charlotte, North Carolina, where the mercury reached 104 degrees (40 C) on Sunday. From St. Louis, Missouri, to Washington, D.C., temperatures were forecast to hit more all-time records.

Thunderstorms and high winds battered eastern North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, leading to three more deaths on top of at least 12 caused by deadly storms in several states on Saturday....

A US powerline, shot by Frank Schulenburg, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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