Extreme heat persists in U.S. but relief arriving Monday

Sat Jul 7, 2012 6:01pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Another day of scorching temperatures blanketed the United States from Iowa to the East Coast on Saturday, but forecasters said some of the areas hit hardest by the prolonged heat wave would soon get relief.

The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings for cities including Washington, where temperatures reached 103 Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) by 1 p.m., New York and Philadelphia, where temperatures hovered near or at triple digits.

"It's hotter than hell," said John Ghio, a tourist from St. Louis after visiting the White House. "We're going to get a cold drink, catch the subway and go back to our hotel to cool down."

Nearby, a family from China posed for photos in front of the U.S. Treasury. They were debating whether to go on to the Washington Monument or wait until the sun went down.

"Too hot," said Xiao Duan, 30, of Beijing. "My father says it's like we're being burned by flames."

A cold front from Canada was expected to move south and break the record-setting heat and drop temperatures to below average levels over much of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states by Monday, the weather service said.

Severe weather, including thunderstorms and damaging winds, was likely to accompany the cooler temperatures, forecasters said.

Areas around Midwestern cities Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis will start to experience less extreme heat this weekend, said Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

But Sosnowski said Saturday would likely be the worst day of the heat for people in the East and the central Appalachians.   Continued...

A tourist uses a patriotic umbrella to fight the punishing heat gripping the nation's capital at the National World War II Memorial in Washington July 6, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing