July 18, 2011 in Nation/World

Central U.S. keeps sweating, with no sign of relief

Murray Evans Associated Press
 

OKLAHOMA CITY – As temperatures climbed into the 90s Sunday in Steele, N.D., a small window air conditioner in Paul and Betty Smokov’s ranch home just couldn’t keep up.

“It’s 82 in the house,” Betty Smokov said. “The heat is really oppressive and sticky.”

That observation could be made anywhere in the central United States. Heat advisories and warnings were in place in 17 states, from Texas to Michigan, as temperatures and humidity combined to make being outside uncomfortable for millions. One National Weather Service forecaster called the heat wave “unrelenting” and said sweaty residents shouldn’t expect relief soon; a so-called “heat dome” over the region isn’t moving much.

In Oklahoma City, forecasters expected another day of 100-degree heat Sunday, which would be the 27th day this year the city has reached 100 or above. The city is on pace to break its record for such days – 50 set in 1980 – with triple-digit heat possible through September.

It’s even worse in western Oklahoma, where temperatures at 110 or above have been common in recent weeks.

In Chicago, city officials said a half-dozen cooling centers would remain open this week as temperatures as high as 105 were forecast in Illinois.

North Dakota National Guard Capt. Dan Murphy said several hundred soldiers deployed for flood-fighting efforts in the Dakotas were required to take mandatory rest breaks in the shade.

The Schwan’s USA Cup youth soccer tournament in Blaine, Minn., suspended play for a time Sunday because of heat indexes that soared to 110 degrees.

Police said heat may have played a role in the death of a 55-year-old man at a homeless camp in Springfield, Mo., on Saturday.

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