Saturday 24 February 2018

Dozens die as temperatures rise above 40C across United States

Jon Swaine in Washington

Dozens of people have died after a blistering heat wave spread across half of the United States, sinking planes into tarmac, derailing trains and even being blamed for an increase in murders.

Temperatures rose above 40C in cities from Kentucky to Pennsylvania, with a record 41.7C registered briefly in Washington DC.

Some 16 murders have been recorded in New York City over the past five days, roughly twice the average rate. One councillor described the city as a "brewing cauldron".

At least 36 more have died throughout the region in incidents linked to the heat. Most victims were elderly, but a four-month-old girl died in Indianapolis after being left in a car.

Two people were killed after a train derailed in Chicago, while a US Airways flight was delayed after the plane sank into the softened runway in Washington.

The prolonged high temperatures were blamed on a huge "dome" of high-pressure air covering vast swathes of the country, which blocked cooling winds and kept humidity high.

Meanwhile, more than 400,000 people around Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey and Indiana remained without power, a week after being lashed by storms, leaving them with no cooling systems or refrigeration. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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