Heat in the South is moving west, pollution including particulate matter fills the air from the Midwest to the Northeast, and strong storms have left hundreds of thousands without power in Illinois and Indiana, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Texas Tribune reported several deaths and a rise in emergency room visits related to heat, which brought temperatures above 100°F and heat indices close to 120°F. Prisoners who live in facilities without air conditioning are at particular risk. At least nine inmates, including two men in their 30s, have died of heart attacks or unknown causes in facilities that lack air conditioning, the paper reported.
A power outage map reported by USA Today showed that about half a million customers in Illinois and Indiana were without power as of Thursday afternoon. Most were along a line extending from Jacksonville, Illinois, to Columbus, Indiana, including Champaign-Urbana and Indianapolis. Severe storms Thursday afternoon generated rain, hail, and winds up to 70 mph.
Canadian wildfires are expected to continue, with rainfall across Quebec and neighboring provinces being insufficient to extinguish them, but the smoke and particulate matter pollution they bring, which lingers today over the Northeast and Midwest, are expected to subside somewhat for the Fourth of July weekend.
“Rain will wash everything out of the air,” The New York Times quoted David Roth, a forecaster with the federal Weather Prediction Center, as saying.