U.S. Heat Wave Relief Seen as Weather Front May Bring Storms

U.S. residents from Missouri to Virginia, beset by a record-breaking heat wave, may see relief tomorrow as a cold front brings more seasonal temperatures along with some potentially severe thunderstorms.

The hot weather has set 2,438 high-temperature records across the country for the 11 days ended yesterday, said Mark Paquette, a meteorologist at AccuWeather.com Inc. He compared it with a comparable heat wave in mid-July of 1988 in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast in which 1,173 records were broken.

“The sheer scope of the records has been very impressive,” said Paquette in a telephone interview yesterday. Two hundred nine daily record highs were set Saturday, and 2,095 for the past seven days, AccuWeather meteorologist Eric Leister said.

In the nation’s capital, the thermometer touched 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) or more for 11 days, with a daily record of 105 set in Washington yesterday, according to the National Weather Service. That’s one degree shy of the city’s all-time high of 106, last set in August 1930. Tomorrow, the temperature drops to 85 degrees.

New York City is expected to be 86 degrees tomorrow, after reaching a high of 97 yesterday, the hottest day this month.

Cities and towns in the Midwest will get a break too.

Both Carbondale, Illinois, and Kansas City, Missouri, hit 105 degrees yesterday. Across the state, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, it was 104. Paquette said temperatures will fall to the high 80s and low 90s for all those cities tomorrow.


Paquette said the sheer breadth of the heat wave was due to a drought that has plagued the Midwest. During a prolonged dry spell, there is little soil moisture or cloud cover to blunt the heat, he said.

The heat wave also has been blamed for the derailment on July 6 of a Washington Metro train car after heat created a kink in the tracks near the West Hyattsville station in Maryland. There may be delays today because of heat-related speed restrictions, Metro said in an alert. The same day, a US Airways Group Inc. plane became stuck in a soft patch on the runway while trying to push back from the gate at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, the Washington Post reported.

Today’s forecast calls for strong thunderstorms in Cincinnati; Louisville, Kentucky; Baltimore; Washington and Richmond, Virginia as a cold front passes through.

Separately, the U.S. Energy Department reported 416,192 homes and businesses were without power as of July 6, the most recent posting. Most of those lost power after a powerful storm known as a derecho swept through the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions on June 29.

The Associated Press said the heat is being blamed for more than 30 deaths nationwide. A 4-month-old girl died yesterday after being trapped in a car in suburban Indianapolis, where the high temperature yesterday was 105 degrees, the wire service reported.

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