In US, first heat wave deaths reported; storm recovery is slow
The first heat-related deaths were reported Monday in the US amid a record-breaking heat wave even as large parts of the country tried to recover from a vicious and deadly storm, DPA reported.
The Washington Post reported that three heat-related deaths in Maryland included two men older than 65 years. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley put the state's death toll at six from the storm, including the three heat-related deaths.
It was not clear if the deaths resulted from the massive power outage that hit the region after Friday's "super derecho" storm spread destruction from the Midwest to the Atlantic region.
The total death toll from the storm now stood at 17, including the six in Maryland; 10 in Virginia; and one in the District of Columbia that is home to the capital of the United States.
Most people were killed by falling trees felled by winds of up to 150 kph.
A record heat wave continued to scorch a broad swathe of the United States, from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Coast, with temperatures of up to 40 degrees in some places.
The National Weather Service warned residents to take the "dangerous" heat seriously.
Meanwhile, the heat had abated somewhat in the storm-hit region of Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia, with temperatures falling to 34 degrees in Washington DC on Monday.
That was good news for the hundreds of thousands of households and businesses still without power after Friday's storms swept the country. In the Washington area alone, there were still about 420,000 businesses and households with no electricity, reported the Washington Post. Local energy suppliers in the capital region promised to restore power by Friday or Saturday the latest.
The National Weather Service saw only slight relief on the horizon. For the coming days it expected temperatures of more than 37 degrees across large sections of the country. The internet website weather.com said that Minneapolis, Minnesota; St Louis, Missouri; Chicago; and Washington DC were just a few of the cities that should prepare for "a sultry week ahead."
As for the storm recovery, especially in Maryland, people faced chaotic traffic situations due to fallen trees and traffic light outages. Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia declared states of emergency. Many federal and state officials and companies in Baltimore and Virginia gave their employees the opportunity to work from home or to take liberal leave policy.
Meanwhile, firefighters in Colorado succeeded in bringing about 55 per cent of the Waldo Canyon fire under control. With an affected area the size of 17,827 acres the Waldo Canyon fire is the worst in Colorado's history.