U.S. Faces Day or Two More of Extreme Heat, Severe Weather

U.S. Faces Day or Two More of Extreme Heat, Severe Weather
A downed tree damages a truck after a powerful overnight storm in Falls Church, Virginia, on June 30, 2012. At least 2.9 million customers were without power in nine Midwestern and East Coast states, as well as the District of Columbia. Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The eastern, central and southern U.S., close to half of the nation, faces another day or two of extreme heat and severe weather that may further disrupt power to homes and businesses, meteorologists said today.

Thunderstorms swept through Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia last night, bringing down trees and power lines, the National Weather Service said. Winds were clocked at 91 miles per hour (146 kph) near Fort Wayne, Indiana, and 80 mph at Franklin, West Virginia.

The storms followed a day of temperatures reaching triple digits, including a record-setting 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) at Washington’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, breaking a mark of 101 degrees set in 1934. At least 10 people have died, including six in Virginia.

At least 2.9 million customers were without power in nine Midwestern and East Coast states, as well as the District of Columbia. Dominion Resources Inc. had 625,516 without power in Virginia and North Carolina, with the most in Virginia. First Energy Corp. said more than 560,000 of its customers were without service.

“I’m impressed by the number of 100-degree temperatures that we’ve seen and it has been widespread,” said Tom Kines, a meteorologist for AccuWeather.com Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, in a telephone interview.

113 Degrees

Kines said 276 daily high temperature records were set yesterday, and 1,456 daily high records in the past seven days.

Some of those records included 109 degrees in Athens, Georgia, and 106 degrees in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Kines said. Charlottesville, Virginia, also set a record with 104 degrees. Johnston and Columbia, South Carolina, both recorded 113 degrees yesterday, which would be all-time records for the state, Kines said.

In Boston, the temperature was 89 degrees and likely to be in the low 90s tomorrow. New York City’s high was 92 degrees by midafternoon, and is expected to be in the mid-90s tomorrow, Kines said. Philadelphia was at 93 degrees, and may reach 95 tomorrow, he said.

Washington was at 95 degrees and Kines said he expected 99 degrees tomorrow, with the possibility of more severe weather tonight in the same areas that were hit by storms last night.

Closed to Spectators

Amtrak said it had restored some service between Philadelphia and Washington today after downed trees and power lines caused the rail line to lose signal power.

In Maryland, the start of the third round of the U.S. PGA Tour’s AT&T National golf tournament in Bethesda was delayed more than five hours. Trees littered the Congressional Country Club course, and the day’s action was closed to spectators.

In Virginia, six people died because of the storms and more than 1 million were without power, Governor Bob McDonnell’s office said today in a statement. He declared a state of emergency in the commonwealth.

The Associated Press reported that two people died in New Jersey and one in Maryland due to the storm, and another storm-related death was reported in Ohio.

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency last night after 500,000 people were without power because of weather-related damage in 27 counties, according to a state website.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington was closed after tents were damaged, according to a statement on its website.

Yesterday’s storms also cut power to a center used by Amazon.com Inc. to provide cloud-computing services to Netflix Inc., Instagram, Pinterest and Instagram, which knocked those services offline for most of last night, according to the TechCrunch Web log.

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