Source: Agencies | 2012-7-7 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
THERE'S been no relief day or night from a scorching heat wave in the central US, and the deadly temperatures were heading east after Midwest cities like Chicago, St Louis and Milwaukee set record highs.
So far at least 13 heat-related deaths have been reported by officials.
When the air conditioner stopped in Ashley Jackson's Southfield, Michigan, home, so too did normal conversations and nightly rest.
"Inside the house it was 33 degrees Celsius ... I wasn't talking to anybody. Nobody was talking to anybody," said Jackson, 23, who works as a short-order cook in Detroit. "We mostly slept, but it was hard to sleep because of the heat. I probably got about four hours of sleep each night."
The National Weather Service reported late on Thursday that the record-breaking heat that has baked the nation's midsection for several days was slowly moving into the mid-Atlantic states and Northeast. That forecast followed excessive-heat warnings on Thursday for all of Illinois and Indiana, as well as parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.
St Louis hit a record high of 40.6 degrees on Wednesday and a nighttime record of 28 degrees. In Wisconsin, the coolest Milwaukee and Madison got was 27 degrees in the early morning, beating previous records by 2 and 4 degrees respectively. Temperatures at night didn't fall below 26 degrees in Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and 24 degrees in Indianapolis.
"When a day starts out that warm, it doesn't take as much time to reach high temperatures in the low 38 Celsius," said Marcia Cronce, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "You know it'll be a warm day when you start out at 27 degrees."
In Chicago on Thursday, the Shedd Aquarium lost power as temperatures soared to 39.5 degrees, a record for July 5. Officials said emergency generators kicked in and the outage never threatened the animals, but several hundred visitors were sent back out into the heat.
Not even the setting of the sun brought respite as temperatures hovered around 33 degrees downtown at 10pm. Some visitors to the city made their way to Millennium Park to splash in the park's kid-friendly Crown Fountain.
"It's hotter here than it is in Arizona," said Mary Dominis, of Tempe, who brought her daughter along to play in the water.
Ruben Davila, 32, of Northern California, was also in Chicago visiting family, and at the park seeking some cool relief.
"The heat has made it difficult to walk around and view the sites," said Davila, who was accompanied by his wife and three children.
St Louis officials have reported three heat-related deaths, and officials in the Chicago area said two people there may have died due to heat.