July 18, 2013

Relief from worst U.S. heat on the horizon, but not until weekend

By David B. Caruso / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Nine-year-old William Williams, right, hugs his brother Xavier Robertson, 10, while waiting for the Big Splash machine at the Como Town water park to dump water on them in St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday, when the temperature hit 92 degrees, with a heat index of 97 degrees.

The Associated Press

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The forecast calls for highs in the low-to-mid 90s with high humidity and sunshine, which will make it feel like it's between 100 and 105 degrees. Friday should be even worse. That's when the heat index climbs to 108 degrees.

Federal weather officials say the steamy weather could cause rolling blackouts and buckled pavement in that state.

Meanwhile, Illinois public health officials are opening cooling centers and warning people to drink plenty of fluids, check on neighbors and take precautions if they're outside.

A heat advisory will remain in effect for Illinois through Friday evening before cooler weather arrives for the weekend.

New Mexico and parts of Texas turned out to be rare outposts of cool air Wednesday – but not without trouble of their own: heavy rains prompted flood watches and warnings in some areas. More than five inches of rain fell in 24 hours in Plainview, north of Lubbock, according to the National Weather Service.

At the World Trade Center reconstruction site in New York City, workers building a rail hub dripped under their hardhats, thick gloves and heavy-duty boots. Some wore towels around their necks to wipe away the sweat.

"We're drinking a lot of water, down under by the tracks, in and out of the sun all day – very hot," said carpenter Elizabeth Fontanez, of the Bronx, who labored with 20 pounds of tools and safety equipment strapped to her waist. Since the heat wave began, she said she has been changing shirts several times during her shifts.

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