Dozens dead in US heat as relief rolls in


A crippling heat wave that has held large swathes of the United States hostage gave way slightly on Sunday — but not before leaving dozens dead in several states, officials and local media said.
After days of sweltering highs around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in the central and eastern parts of the country, forecasters said that cooler air was slowly swooping south from Canada. “Temperatures will drop, bringing some much needed relief,” the National Weather Service said. The relentless heat sparked health warnings and sent people to makeshift cooling shelters, shopping malls and overcrowded swimming pools in search of relief. But the oven-like temperatures took their toll all the same, with the elderly and infirm especially vulnerable.
The eastern state of Maryland has recorded at least 13 heat-related deaths since June 8, with 11 of the victims aged over 65, Ed McDonough, a spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, told AFP. “We are hoping that this is it,” he said in reference to the extreme weather. In Ohio, three seniors with heart problems perished due to the heat after a fierce band of firestorms tore across several states on June 29, leaving them and millions of others without much-needed air conditioning after power cuts.