News24

Heat wave kills 30 in US

2012-07-08 08:59

Philadelphia - Americans dipped into the water, went to the movies and rode the subway just to be in air conditioning on Saturday for relief from unrelenting heat that has killed at least 30 people across half the country.

The heat sent temperatures soaring over 38°C in several cities, including a record 40.5°C in Washington, St Louis 41°C, and Indianapolis 40°C, buckled highways and derailed a Washington-area train even as another round of summer storms threatened.

The heat sent temperatures soaring in more than 20 states.

At least 30 deaths were blamed on the heat, including nine in Maryland and 10 in Chicago, mostly among the elderly. Three elderly people found dead in their houses in Ohio had heart disease, but died of high temperatures in homes lacking power because of recent outages, officials said. Heat was also cited as a factor in three deaths in Wisconsin, two in Tennessee and three in Pennsylvania.

Officials said the heat caused highways to buckle in Illinois and Wisconsin. In Maryland, investigators said heat likely caused rails to kink and led a green line train to partially derail in Prince George's County, Maryland, on Friday afternoon. No one was injured, and 55 passengers were safely evacuated.

Thousands of mid-Atlantic residents remained without power more than a week after deadly summer storms and extreme heat struck the area, including 120 000 in West Virginia and about 8 000 in the suburbs around Baltimore and Washington, DC In the Washington area, the utility company Pepco asked customers to conserve power, saying the heat was stressing the system.

"This is becoming a black swan of heat waves, in the sense that it's such a long heat wave, such a severe heat wave and encompassing such a large area," said Chris Vaccaro, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Comments
  • Ian - 2012-07-08 09:17

    wow, thats insane, and we complain when our temps hit 30 degrees, well, I hope they get rain soon to cool things off, condolences to the families of the ones that died RIP

      fishycraig - 2012-07-08 12:26

      It is all relative I suppose. Imagine how hot 40 degrees would feel when it gets to -20 degrees in winter. Yeah, we do have awesome weather in this country. Sad to think of these old people dying, alone in their houses. Where are their kids or grandchildren? But yeah, condolences to all those concerned.

  • millionwatts1 - 2012-07-08 09:35

    It doesn't even get that hot here.

      altusvanzyl - 2012-07-08 10:42

      Really? Come stay in wellington it gets 45 here easily. 40 is nothing.

      oneant.kasinski - 2012-07-08 11:07

      It was 41 in Pretoria a few months ago.

      millionwatts1 - 2012-07-08 11:15

      I am talking about here.

      Tommo - 2012-07-08 18:00

      I thought Wellington was in new Zealand?

  • Bheki Nas - 2012-07-08 10:09

    ..

  • marcellusadams - 2012-07-08 10:31

    But is this not the same country that does not support the Kyoto Protocol? Makes me wonder if this is not some kind of curse with Biblical proportions

      jameel.patel.39 - 2012-07-08 16:05

      Forest fires, storms heat waves, sign upon sign will come yet most will not take heed..

  • douglas.hollis.7 - 2012-07-08 12:01

    I bet they still think climate change is a myth perpetuated by Al Gore. Weather events are becoming more extreme, more frequent, and cover larger areas. This is really quite undeniable. After all, who could think that pumping 32 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year would make no difference at all to the amount of heat trapped in our atmosphere? And this is making its way into our oceans (at alarming rates, I gather). Incidentally, I grew up in Wellington, and yes, it gets to 40C and beyond. However, this is essentially a dry heat (low humidity). To my understanding, large parts of the affected areas in the US are also high humidity areas. Which means even a temperature of high 30's would feel pretty much unbearable. Now, to compare apples with apples, think Durban at 41C. That's seriously uncool! Condolences to the families of the deceased.

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