Temps cool after heat wave that left more than 35 dead

2:33 PM, Jul 8, 2012   |    comments
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The heat wave that has been cooking most of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic is finally letting up. A wave of thunderstorms is expected to usher in a return to just regular summer heat by Monday morning.

But it may be impossible to forget the havoc wreaked by the two-week heat wave that has been blamed for more than 35 deaths and tied or set new all-time highs in nearly 300 cities.

"We got an awful long summer to go before we can compare it to the heat wave of 1980," said Mark Ressler, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "But it's really going to be one of the ones that will be memorable to people."

The heat wave claimed several more victims over the weekend.

In Shelby County, Tennessee, the health department said two people died Saturday after they struggled in homes without air conditioning. In Louisville, a 54-year-old woman was found collapsed outside a friend's house and officials said the heat contributed to her death.

In Indiana, two parents have been charged for leaving their infant children in locked cars in the baking sun. Greenfield Police charged Joshua Stryzanski in the death of his 3-month-old daughter, who they say was left in a car for "an extended period of time." In Fishers, a person noticed a 16-month-old girl inside a Ford Explorer parked in a shopping mall. Police broke out a window and rushed the girl to a local hospital, where she survived, and the mother was charged with felony neglect of a child, according to Fishers police.

While the temperatures will drop across much of the country starting Sunday night, the heat wave kept going strong throughout the weekend.

In St. Louis, for example, the temperature topped 100 degrees for a 10th straight day Sunday, a streak not seen since the Dust Bowl years in the 1930s.

Chicago residents usually get a triple-digit heat day once every couple of years, according to the National Weather Service. But it recorded four such days through the heat wave. The city broke daily high records on Thursday and Friday.

All-time high records were set Saturday in Cairo, Ill., (108 degrees), Huntington, W.Va. (104 degrees) and Lexington, Ky., (105 degrees).

"Those kinds of things are going to allow this to be very memorable," Ressler said.

Contributing: Jeff Swiatek, The Indianapolis Star; The (Louisville) Courier-Journal; Associated Press.

By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

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