NEW YORK – Broiling temperatures in the 90s and beyond gripped large swaths of the country Monday, sending people scrambling for the shade and prompting officials to open air-conditioned buildings.
The temperature reached 94 in New York, with a heat index – meaning the combined effects of heat and humidity – of 99.
In Illinois, state officials made more than 130 office buildings available as cooling centers. Detroit cranked up the air conditioning in 11 of its libraries and invited the public to take refuge from the heat. In Kentucky, Louisville officials offered free fans or air conditioners to those in immediate need.
In Arkansas, authorities blamed the heat for at least one death but did not release any details. A 60-year-old woman was found dead of lung disease and heat stress in her Philadelphia home.
Fierce heat blanketed the nation from California to the Northeast. Scores of communities reported temperatures of more than 100. Redding, Calif., about 160 miles north of Sacramento, reached 110 degrees. Parts of Oklahoma hit 109.
The Northeast could get a break starting tonight, with scattered showers and thunderstorms expected for parts of the region, but the heat was likely to persist in the southern Plains until Friday, according to the National Weather Service.