Death toll in US heat wave hits 60

Death toll in US heat wave hits 60
# 10 July 2012 04:58 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Around 60 people have died in the stifling heat wave which has stretched across much of the United States over the past two weeks, APA reports quoting Press TV.

The heat wave, which sent temperatures soaring over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 Celsius) in several major cities, had already been blamed for at least 46 deaths across the country on Saturday.

On Sunday, officials in Chicago said that eight more people died from heat-related causes, adding to the 10 deaths previously confirmed on Saturday. The victims included a 100-year-old woman, a 65-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man, a 46-year-old woman, and an unidentified man of about 30.

In Tennessee, a 62-year-old woman was found dead in her home. Deaths have also been reported in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

According to US media reports, many of the dead were elderly people stuck in their homes without air conditioning because of the ongoing power outages.

The power outages were caused by violent storms that swept through the Mid-Atlantic states on June 29, toppling trees onto power lines and knocking out transmission towers and electrical substations. Thousands of people, including 74,000 in West Virginia, are still without power.

Residents frustrated by the sweltering heat criticized the utility companies for acting slowly in fixing the power lines.

On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that from early summer 2011 to early summer 2012, the United States experienced its warmest 12-month period since record-keeping began in 1895.

The NOAA’s monthly analysis showed that the heat during the last half of June broke or tied 170 all-time high temperature records in cities across the lower 48 states.

"Temperatures in South Carolina (113F/45C) and Georgia (112F/44C) are currently under review by the US State Climate Extremes Committee as possible all-time statewide temperature records," the NOAA said.

Washington DC has experienced an unprecedented series of extreme temperatures. On Saturday the heat reached 105F (41C), just short of the hottest ever recorded in the city.

The current extreme temperatures are affecting approximately 115 million US citizens according to the National Weather Service and are especially insufferable due to the high humidity, sometimes reaching levels over 90 percent.