United States suffer in searing heat wave

Wednesday 20th Jul 2011 by theWeather Club

Those Brits who have been lamenting the lack of sunshine this week should spare a thought for America, where blistering heatwaves have left the grass on that side of the Atlantic anything but green.

Over 17 states have been affected by the soaring temperatures, which are believed to have caused 13 deaths in total so far. In addition the heat has been intensified by the extraordinary levels of humidity which are set to continue into next week.

Throughout July the National Weather Service has been issuing excessive heat warnings, with officials reporting a string of record figures.
In the northwestern Illinois town of Freeport for example the heat index reached 51°C on Monday, a record topped only when some parts of Iowa reached a searing 54°C. Meanwhile in Oklahoma, where such temperatures have been routine, roads have buckled and dozens of people have been forced to seek medical atttention.

Elderly people and those with health conditions are particularly at risk from the heatwave, which is expected to reach Chicago today and tomorrow. There officials are urging people to take the extreme weather warnings very seriously, as residents are unlikely to be used to the 40°C that is expected.

Such extreme heat is not entirely unprecedented in this part of the states: it kills more people each year than any other form of weather, including tornadoes and hurricanes. This year however even the east part of the country – New York, Washington DC - is due to be affected as the large patch of high pressure in the upper atmosphere settles in. Given that high pressure generally entails thunderstorms and hail as well, those bound for the US might be better sticking to Wales.