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Heat wave grips US as floodwaters inundate Midwest

Heat wave grips US as floodwaters inundate Midwest
Heat wave grips US as floodwaters inundate Midwest


Millions of Americans sweated through another scorching day as temperatures soared across the United States on Sunday, while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest, including in an Iowa town where the flood gauge was submerged. One person was killed in flooding in South Dakota, the governor said.

From the Mid-Atlantic to Maine, through the Great Lakes region and across the West to California, public officials have warned residents of the dangers of excessive heat and humidity . In Oklahoma, the human body heat index is expected to reach 107 degrees (41 degrees Celsius) on Sunday.

In the Midwest, where South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota meet, floodwaters increased throughout the weekend. In northwest Iowa, 13 rivers flooded the area, said Eric Tigges of Clay County Emergency Management. Entire neighborhoods and at least one entire town were evacuated, and the town of Spencer imposed a curfew on Sunday for the second night in a row after flooding that surpassed the record set in 1953.

When the flood gauge is underwater, it is very high, Tigges said at a news conference hosted by Spencer officials.

Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a disaster for 21 northern Iowa counties, including Sioux County. In a drone video released by the local sheriff, no streets were visible, just roofs and treetops sticking out of the water.

Reynolds told reporters Sunday that more than 1,000 displaced residents were sleeping in shelters Saturday night. National Guard troops were assisting with water rescues and transporting needed medications lost in the floods.

Businesses are closed. Main streets were affected, Reynolds said. Hospitals, retirement homes and other healthcare facilities have been evacuated. The towns are without electricity and some do not have drinking water.

National Weather Service meteorologist Donna Dubberke said parts of northern Nebraska, southeast South Dakota, southern Minnesota and northwest Iowa received eight times the usual average precipitation . And even heavier rains were expected this week.

In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem declared a state of emergency after severe flooding in the Southeast. Several highways were closed.

Areas south of Sioux Falls, the state's largest city, received about 10 to 15 inches of rain over three days, said Kevin Low, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

At least one person died in the flooding, Noem said Sunday, without providing details.

Several rivers, including the Big Sioux, James and Vermillion, are expected to peak Monday night, the governor said at a news conference.

I want to remind everyone to remember the power of water and its flow, and to stay away from flooded areas, Noem said. We have a few days ahead of us here that will be a little difficult, but we will get through it.

Emergency management officials in the small community of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, issued a voluntary evacuation order for the area's approximately 4,000 residents on Sunday. Dakota Dunes sits near the Nebraska and Iowa borders and is sandwiched between the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers, both of which are expected to peak in the coming days. Dakota Dunes Emergency Management warned residents that a mandatory evacuation could occur quickly if flood barriers are breached.

Little precipitation was forecast in the coming days as floodwaters continue to move down the Missouri River, peaking in Sioux City, Iowa, overnight Sunday, in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday and in Nebraska City on Thursday, Low said .

Minor to moderate flooding was expected along the Missouri River, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials.

As long as the levees hold, we don't expect major impacts, said John Remus, chief of the corps' water management division in the Missouri River basin.

But elsewhere, the heat was the biggest concern.

It's more important that people who go outside stay hydrated, because the heat, humidity and low winds, even if you're in good shape and not really acclimatized, could be a danger, said Bruce Thoren of the National Weather Service. meteorologist in Oklahoma. It happens quickly.

A person holds a dog as it is evacuated into the bucket of a front-end loader in Hawarden, Iowa, Saturday, June 22, 2024, following flooding on the Big Sioux River. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

Greg Cobb of Chicago wears a towel on his head in warm weather before a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, June 22, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Edgar Sanchez stops during a walk with his dogs as they cool off in a pool next to a fire hydrant sprayer, Saturday, June 22, 2024, in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The cities of Washington, DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia all experienced record heat on Saturday, and even higher temperatures are expected on Sunday.

Lamont Cousins, owner of Ampersea Restaurant on the Baltimore waterfront, said business was slow this weekend. The restaurant's 40 outdoor seats, usually packed this time of year, were empty until Saturday, around dinner time.

I think it has affected us because people are staying at home, scared, he said.

On Saturday, when he went to put the umbrellas on the tables, it was already over 90 degrees. But Cousins ​​said he wasn't too worried about the loss of business and expected Sunday to be better.

Yesterday, no one was walking around. It's warmer today, but there's a breeze. Yesterday I just felt like I was being punished,” Cousins ​​said.

Last year, the United States experienced the most heat waves since 1936, experts say. An AP analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that excessive heat contributed to more than 2,300 deaths, the highest in 45 years.

The National Weather Service warned of the risk of rare tornadoes in the Northeast later Sunday. Tornadoes struck Wisconsin on Saturday, destroying the historic Apple Grove Lutheran Church, founded in 1893 in the town of Argyle.

The good news is we are all safe, Dan Bohlman, pastor of Apple Grove Lutheran Church, said on the church's website.

Marvin Boyd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont, said a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued for parts of northern New York as a storm with wind gusts exceeding 60 mph (95 km/h) and a threat of tornadoes were heading toward Vermont near the lake. Champlain. This is one of several vehicles expected to pass through the area Sunday afternoon.

It's an unusual alignment of ingredients for Vermont and upstate New York that produces a tornado threat, Boyd said.


Associated Press reporters Summer Ballentine in Columbia, Missouri; Leah Willingham in Charleston, West Virginia; Julie Walker in New York; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; and Michael Casey in Boston contributed reporting.




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