US in the grip of severe heat spell

August 5th, 2011 - 10:47 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 5 (IANS) As many as 15 states in southern United States, stretching from a sliver of Southern California to North Carolina, are in the grip of a suffocating heat spell

Several cities in Texas closed in on records for the most consecutive days of 100-degree heat with Dallas marking its 34th straight day of temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees C), according to the National Weather Service.

Some smaller Texas cities have had it worse than Dallas. Thursday was Waco’s 35th straight day topping 100 degrees, and Tyler’s 38th. The record for both Dallas and Waco is 42 straight days, set in 1980.

Texans were also warned Thursday by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid, of rolling power outages statewide if high energy consumption continues.

Not only are temperatures high in Texas, but CNN cited the state climatologist as saying Thursday that Texas is in the midst of the most severe one-year drought on record. Records started being kept in 1895.

July was also the hottest month ever on record in Texas and the third driest July, climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon was quoted as saying.

Citing record-breaking electricity demand, the Public Utilities Company of Oklahoma urged users to decrease the amount of electricity they are consuming. It recommended setting thermostats to 80 degrees and postponing use of dishwashers, washers and driers.

Temperatures reached a record high in Little Rock, Arkansas, Wednesday, soaring to a scalding 114 degrees. It’s the hottest day on record for the city, according to CNN affiliate KLRT-TV.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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