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Heat wave easing for most of the country

NEW YORK — Americans this week will get a reprieve from the stifling heat that has blanketed much of the country as temperatures begin approaching normal from the Midwest to the East Coast.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Orrison said Sunday that a cold front will move through the South and the mid Atlantic bringing thunderstorms and showers.

He said temperatures there will drop to a more normal range: mid- to upper-80s. Residents of the Southeast and Tennessee Valley will experience temperatures in the low 90s — "still fairly warm," Orrison said, but not as hot as it had been.

The Midwest can expect cooler weather, as well, with temperatures in the 80s.

The cooler air began sweeping southward Sunday in the eastern half of the country, bringing down some temperatures by 15 or more degrees from Saturday's highs, which topped 100 in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky.

It was 80-plus degrees in New York City on Sunday night. Some visitors to the city said they'd spent much of the weekend shopping in air-conditioned stores rather than exploring Central Park as they had planned.

"But that's okay, shopping is always good in New York," said Linda Boteach of Baltimore, waiting to board a bus that was spewing exhaust into the already hot night.

"It was worse in Baltimore," Boteach said. "It's all relative."

The heat of the past several days has been blamed for at least 46 deaths across the country.

In Chicago, the Cook County medical examiner's office determined Sunday that eight more people died from heat-related causes, adding to the 10 deaths previously confirmed Saturday. The deaths included a 100-year-old woman, 65-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man, a 46-year-old woman and an unidentified man believed to be about 30 years old.

In Tennessee, the third heat-related death of the year was a 62-year-old woman found dead in her home. She had a working air conditioner, but it was not turned on.

Deaths have also been reported by authorities in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

To stay cool, Americans tried familiar solutions — dipping into the pool, going to the movies and riding subways just to be in air conditioning.

Gregory Englebach relaxed on a bench Sunday evening near the Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia where he'd worked all day, enjoying temperatures that had dipped into the 80s.

It's the humidity that gets me," said the 24-year-old Englebach. He said he thinks his utility bill has already gone up by $30 or $40 because of his increased use of electricity at home. But he's resigned to it: "It's air-conditioning or I can't sleep at night," he said.

Heat wave easing for most of the country 07/09/12 [Last modified: Monday, July 9, 2012 10:53am]
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