World / US and Canada

Heat wave eases in US, death toll up

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-07-10 06:53

WASHINGTON - Extreme heat that has been baking much of US Midwest and East Coast has relented on Monday, with rain and cooler temperatures reported in those parts of the country, while reports indicated the death toll of the heat wave has climbed to 74.

With cooler air swept southward in the eastern half of the country, the temperature has dropped from around 100 degrees Fahrenheit over the past two weeks to about 90 in most parts of the Midwest to the East Coast. In Washington, Monday was the first cool day after 11 days of sustained heat, with highs at 84 degrees.

The relief began Saturday night, as thunderstorms ushered in the cooler temperatures. In New Jersey, a line of strong, fast- moving storms knocked out power to nearly 70,000 on Saturday night.

The heat was blamed for at least 74 deaths across the country in the past two weeks, according to NBC News, with states like Virginia and Illinois reporting double digit death toll.

The heat wave has been near-unprecedented for several major cities. In Chicago, the temperature reached 100 degrees for three consecutive days from Wednesday through Friday, which ties historic record. St Louis' streak of 10 consecutive days of 100 or higher has only been topped by the Dust Bowl year of 1936 when the streak was 13 days. Washington hit 100 on Sunday for the fourth consecutive day, tying a record set July 19-22, 1930.

However, as the heat eases in the East, forecasters warned that a new round of record highs could soon bake Western states.

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