x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

US finally gets relief from blistering heat

The heatwave has claimed 30 lives and also led to thunderstorms that knocked out power to thousands of homes.

PHILADELPHIA // Americans in much of the country will be getting a slight break from the oppressive heat soon after temperatures rose to above 37°C from the central states to the mid-Atlantic on Saturday.

The heatwave has claimed 30 lives and also led to thunderstorms that knocked out power to thousands of homes.

Yet for many, the cooler temperatures won't exactly be comfortable, falling only into the low 30s.

Cooler air is sweeping southward in the eastern half of the country, bringing down some temperatures by nine or more degrees from Saturday's highs.

In St Louis, the drop from Saturday's high still will leave residents baking in 34°C weather - the high on Saturday was a record 41°C.

Temperatures in Philadelphia, Washington, and Indianapolis fell to between the low 30s and upper 20s yesterday after crossing the 37°C mark on Saturday.

For many areas, the cooler temperatures were ushered in by thunderstorms that knocked out power to thousands.

In New Jersey, storms knocked out power to 70,000 on Saturday night with reportedly 23,000 still without electricity yesterday.

The heat is blamed for causing more than 30 deaths. A 4-month-old girl died and a 16-month-old girl was hospitalised on Saturday in separate incidents in suburban Indianapolis when both were found trapped in cars during the near-record 40°C heat. The severe heat also killed nine people in Maryland, 10 in Chicago and three in Wisconsin. Officials said the heat caused highways to buckle in Illinois and Wisconsin. In Maryland, investigators said heat led a Metro train to partially derail in Prince George's County on Friday afternoon. No one was injured.

Micah Straight, 36, took his three daughters to a "sprayground", or fountain, near Philadelphia's Logan Square. "We got here early because I don't think we'll be out this afternoon - we'll be in the air conditioning," he said.