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Heat wave expected to scorch much of the U.S.

National Weather Service says over 100 local heat records are expected to be broken by Saturday.

Posted: Jul 17, 2019 8:12 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2019 8:15 PM

DETROIT (AP) — The heat wave that has been roasting much of the U.S. in recent days is just getting warmed up, with temperatures expected to soar to dangerous levels through the weekend.

Communities are preparing by offering buildings as cooling centers and asking residents to check in on relatives and neighbors. Officials also are concerned about smog, which is exacerbated by the heat and makes it more difficult for certain people to breathe, including the very young, the elderly and people with asthma or lung diseases.

More than 100 local heat records are expected to fall Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Most won't be record-daily highs but record-high nighttime lows, and that lack of cooling can be dangerous, meteorologists say. Temperatures in parts of the East won't drop below the mid- to upper-70s or even 80 degrees (26.7 Celsius) at night, he said.

The heat wave will likely be "short and searing," said Greg Carbin, forecast branch chief for the weather service's Weather Prediction Center.

A high pressure system stretching from coast-to-coast is keeping the heat turned on. The heat and humidity are made to feel worse by the large amount of moisture in the air coming from the Gulf of Mexico, much of it left over from Hurricane Barry.

The heat index, which is what the temperature feels like, should hit 110 (43.3 Celsius) in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and 109 (42.8 Celsius) in Chicago and Detroit on Friday, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of Weather Underground. Wednesday marked Washington's seventh straight day with temperatures of at least 90 degrees (32.2 Celsius), and that streak was expected to last for another five days.

An experimental weather service forecast projects that nearly 100 local records will be broken Thursday and Friday in Texas, Oklahoma, parts of the Midwest and a large swath of the East Coast. On Saturday, 101 records could fall in an area stretching from Texas to Iowa and east to Maine and Florida, according to projections.

Deloris Knight said she will keep the heat out of her eastside Detroit home by keeping her doors and curtains closed while running the small window air conditioner in her living room.

"We have a couple of big fans. We have ceiling fans," Knight, 63, said Wednesday while enjoying temperatures in the mid-80s (about 29 degrees Celsius) from her front porch. "I keep lemonade and gallons of frozen water in the refrigerator. At night, we're in the house."

Even that may not provide enough relief for some, especially for young children, the elderly or people with certain chronic illnesses.

The Environmental Protection Agency's live air quality tracker reported that the air was "unhealthy" Wednesday for sensitive groups in a stretch of the East Coast from Baltimore to Bridgeport, Connecticut, including Philadelphia and New York City.

Such heat can be deadly. Over three days in July 1995, more than 700 people died during a heat wave in Chicago as temperatures rose above 97 degrees (36.1 Celsius). Many of the dead were poor, elderly and lived alone.

"Daytime hours when the sun is out is clearly our highest risk periods," said Dr. Michael Kaufmann, EMS medical director with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. "We're not expecting the drops in temperature at night — or the humidity — that we often realize when the sun goes down."

Roger Axe, who heads the emergency management agency in Indiana's Greene County, said he has asked churches and other organizations to open their doors as "possible lifesaving cooling centers."

Officials in the Detroit suburb of Westland will keep the police station lobby and one of its fire stations open around the clock. The Chicago suburb of Orland Park also opened its police station as its primary 24-hour cooling center.

Kelly Boeckman, 31, and Taylor Knoll, 28, met Wednesday morning — when the heat was still bearable — to chat at a patio table in downtown Jefferson City, Missouri. Both have young children and said they are careful to keep them hydrated and protected from the heat.

"We definitely aren't doing outside activities for the afternoon and evening, even though they want to sometimes," said Boeckman, who has 6-year-old twins and a 3 year old. They're "playing early, (getting) lots of water and hydration, (and) staying in the shade when we are outside."

Steve Owen, a 54-year-old bus driver from Roeland Park, Kansas, dumped water on his head to stay cool Wednesday while waiting to pick up a day care group from the local pool.

"I'm usually revived and feeling much better," he said after drenching himself. "That usually gets me through."

The heat also can take a toll on pets and other animals. Officials at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago have spent the past few days preparing.

Blocks of ice weighing about 300 pounds (136 kilograms) were being trucked in for the polar and grizzly bears, and the zoo planned to give ice cubes to the reindeer. Additional animals were being given access to indoor quarters starting Thursday.

"The welfare of the animals is our top priority," said zoo spokeswoman Sondra Katzen.

The same is true at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, where some animals have cooling stations in their enclosures and space off-exhibit where they can go to cool down, said general curator Dave Bernier.

"I don't expect it to be much change in attendance," he said. "Once they decide they want to go to the zoo on the weekend, that's usually where they go."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 487374

Reported Deaths: 6589
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1011101588
Ramsey43212805
Dakota36478392
Anoka33391390
Washington22156259
Stearns18774202
St. Louis14838264
Scott13354107
Wright12554116
Olmsted1183389
Sherburne876173
Carver779840
Clay693687
Rice671591
Blue Earth598335
Kandiyohi580174
Crow Wing522382
Chisago500345
Otter Tail484370
Benton448290
Winona419349
Mower408131
Douglas393668
Goodhue387569
Nobles387147
Polk344363
McLeod340250
Beltrami338651
Morrison325647
Itasca314046
Lyon313644
Becker313142
Isanti307656
Steele302311
Carlton300149
Freeborn284124
Pine282416
Nicollet260441
Todd248930
Brown246137
Le Sueur236920
Mille Lacs228547
Cass220724
Waseca209717
Meeker207934
Martin190328
Wabasha18673
Roseau180717
Hubbard160741
Houston158014
Dodge15354
Renville151240
Redwood147027
Fillmore13838
Pennington137016
Chippewa136735
Cottonwood135420
Wadena131320
Faribault124017
Aitkin119133
Watonwan11768
Sibley117310
Rock115814
Kanabec107819
Pipestone101724
Yellow Medicine97717
Murray9498
Jackson94010
Swift87918
Pope8085
Marshall78015
Stevens7448
Lake74218
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68616
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62011
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5122
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44468
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3105
Lake of the Woods2201
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 335795

Reported Deaths: 5478
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51900558
Linn19487315
Scott17120211
Black Hawk14939293
Woodbury13798214
Johnson1313875
Dubuque12431195
Dallas1020292
Pottawattamie9844146
Story961945
Warren512776
Clinton501584
Cerro Gordo499583
Webster494988
Sioux479469
Marshall463773
Des Moines427861
Muscatine424693
Buena Vista412637
Wapello4035108
Jasper386767
Plymouth368378
Lee354453
Marion340670
Jones285055
Henry279837
Bremer269755
Carroll266749
Crawford252835
Boone243130
Benton240454
Washington238847
Mahaska215646
Jackson209938
Dickinson203040
Tama202665
Kossuth198755
Delaware185840
Clay184125
Winneshiek183028
Fayette179135
Page177819
Buchanan177529
Wright174131
Hamilton173842
Cedar171723
Hardin169739
Harrison167469
Clayton160054
Butler159031
Floyd148141
Mills148120
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee145836
Lyon145541
Allamakee143648
Madison142418
Iowa139823
Hancock137830
Grundy132230
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129411
Cass129051
Jefferson128334
Appanoose123347
Louisa122343
Mitchell120540
Chickasaw119615
Union118831
Sac118618
Shelby117033
Emmet115240
Humboldt113625
Franklin109119
Guthrie109028
Palo Alto101221
Howard99321
Montgomery96836
Clarke94920
Keokuk92329
Monroe89628
Ida81432
Adair81329
Pocahontas80919
Monona76427
Davis76323
Greene73110
Lucas71621
Osceola68315
Worth6677
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53818
Ringgold50520
Audubon4769
Wayne46221
Adams3184
Unassigned00
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 31°
Mason City
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 27°
Albert Lea
Mostly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 31°
Austin
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 31°
Several days of mild weather expected
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