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Deadly heatwave moves east across United States
Cat : Environment
Date : 2006-08-02 18:01:02                      Reader : 364

already caused catastrophes in US and the world.
Katrina, Rita, and high temperature , all are due to climate change. US is the most concerned with pollution, but still Bush prefers few capitalists interests rather than American nation safety !!

REUTERS 2/8/2006

Deadly heatwave moves east across United States


NEW YORK (Reuters) - A potentially deadly heatwave struck parts of the eastern United States on Tuesday with the mercury threatening to top 38 C, but power grid operators said the increased demand could be met.
The heatwave is moving across the country from California, which suffered through more than two weeks of triple-digit temperatures that killed at least 136 people and caused power failures.

Meteorologists forecast 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for New York, Philadelphia and Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday. Residents of Detroit, St. Louis and Chicago were sweating it out in equally stifling temperatures.

"It is miserably hot outside and hard on everyone," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters. "This is a very dangerous heatwave. It’s really more than just uncomfortable, it can seriously threaten your lives."

The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings and said the heat index -- how hot it feels when the humidity is combined with the air temperature -- was due to hit 46 C in New York on Wednesday.

"If people do not take precautions, we could be looking at a significant number of fatalities," said Gary Conte, the weather service’s warning coordinator meteorologist, adding that New York City had not suffered such a string of hot temperatures since July 1999.

"The forecasted temperatures and heat indices (in 1999) were pretty close to what we’re looking at now. The impact from that event resulted in 43 deaths in New York City and New Jersey with rolling blackouts, buckled roads and so forth."

The National Weather Service said more than 50 temperature records had been set in the central and western United States in the past two weeks.

"The persistence of the unusually hot temperatures has made the past month one of the warmest since records began in 1895 for the contiguous U.S.," the weather service said.

Meteorologists are analysing data to determine if July 2006 has surpassed July 1936 to become the hottest on record.


New York City has opened hundreds of air conditioned "cooling centres" for people to take refuge in and extended hours at public swimming pools, while urging the public not to open fire hydrants.

"It’s too hot. It’s hard to work, but we have to suffer to make a living," said Tajdar Sayed, who has been selling fruit from a street stand near New York’s Times Square for 15 years. "It’s a little bit slower than usual because it’s too hot."

Electricity grid operators did not expect they would have to institute rolling blackouts, which are aimed at preventing uncontrolled outages, due to any lack of generating capacity.

However, in some regions, power distribution cables could fail, like those that recently left 25,000 Con Edison customers in New York without power for up to a week.

In 2003, the worst blackout in North American history left up to 50 million people in Ontario, Canada, and eight U.S. states in the dark. New York, the most populous U.S. city with 8 million people, lost up to $1 billion.

Commonwealth Edison reported about 10,000 scattered outages on Tuesday across its Illinois territory, including 2,700 customers on the south side of Chicago, who lost power Monday when an underground cable failed, spokesman Tom Stevens said.

In Boston, tourists continued sightseeing despite temperatures spiking above 90 F (32 C).

"We wanted to walk around the city, but it’s just too hot to do that," said Robert Farrell, 64, of Putnam, Connecticut, sitting in the shade with his family. "We’re trying to figure out where we can go to get out of the sun and get into the air conditioning."

In El Paso, Texas, heavy rains temporarily broke the region’s drought and turned streets into raging rivers that uprooted trees and carried away cars.

(Additional reporting by Torrye Jones and Scott DiSavino in New York, Scott Malone and Svea Herbst in Boston, Eileen O’Grady and Jeff Franks in Houston)

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