Heat emergencies spread across U.S.

Dozens of cities in the Midwest and East declared heat emergencies Wednesday

BALTIMORE (UPI) | June 8, 2011

Heat emergencies were declared in dozens of cities across the U.S. Midwest and East Wednesday as temperatures were forecast to approach or top 100 degrees.

Temperatures were projected to be in the 90s from Burlington, Vt., south through Boston to New York, possibly breaking records. Temperatures were forecast to reach or exceed 100 degrees farther south, from Philadelphia through Baltimore to Washington and Richmond, Va., AccuWeather.com said.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive-heat warning for much of southeastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and west-central New Jersey from noon EDT Wednesday until 8 p.m. Thursday.

Residents were advised to drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous activity outdoors and stay out of the sun.

New York officials warned of dehydration, heat stroke and other heat-related illness both days and encouraged people without air-conditioning to go to public "cooling centers," where air-conditioning was available.

Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati and at least four dozen other cities -- including cities in Ontario, Canada -- declared heat emergencies and encouraged people to go to places with air-conditioning.

School districts in several mid-Atlantic states announced their schools would have early dismissals Wednesday, due to excessive heat.

Baltimore's heat index -- combining air temperature and relative humidity to determine how the temperature feels -- could reach 105, the National Weather Service said.

In Washington, emergency officials warned residents not to open fire hydrants.

Tennessee's environment agency warned ozone levels Wednesday would be unhealthy in Nashville and surrounding areas, The Tennessean reported.

Minneapolis Tuesday reported a high of 102 degrees, making it the hottest day since July 15, 1988, and the second-earliest 100-degree reading in the city since 1872, Weather.com reported.

The second-largest wildfire in Arizona history roared east early Wednesday, chasing thousands of residents from their homes but not yet crossing into New Mexico.

"The fire moves so fast. It's the same as holding a matchstick upside down," firefighting operation spokesman Jim Hyland told the Los Angeles Times.

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