Relief from heat expected

Relief from the heat wave is expected soon for the central U.S.


Relief from the heat wave is expected soon for the central U.S., but the damage has already been done.

Excessive heat scorched most of the western and central U.S. in the past week, killing at least 18 people in Arizona. Officials in Chicago are trying to determine whether three people found dead this weekend were also heat casualties. More heat-related deaths were reported in Nevada and Utah.

Temperatures reached beyond the 100-degree marks for several consecutive days in many states.

But the relief will arrive overnight Monday. According to a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist, a cold front will move into the area Tuesday, providing much cooler weather.

"(Tuesday) should be 10-15 degrees cooler, maybe more," said Douglas Kluck, regional climate services manager for the NWS Central Region Office. "It is a drastic air mass change and should impact places like Chicago and St. Louis and farther south."

That will provide relief to the churches and community groups that had opened their buildings as cooling centers, offering people with no air conditioning a refuge. Many churches were taking donations of bottled water. Homeless shelters have been staying open during the day, as well, using extra volunteers to help keep the doors open.

Yet despite the sky-rocketing temperatures, Kluck said this recent heat wave was not much of an anomaly. "There were not that many records broken - it wasn't that kind of heat event," he explained.

The heat will move to the East Coast for a day or so, he added, but it will then push out over the ocean by Thursday.

Overall, NWS Spokesman Pat Slattery said the heat wave is just something to be ready for and expected this time of year.

"The basic reason for this is 'July,'" he said.

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