July 16 (Reuters) – Already rain-soaked New England was hit by more rain, flooding that killed four people and the National Weather Service warned of extreme heat for a quarter of the U.S. population.
Parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic region will be hit by storms “capable of peak rainfall” ahead of a cold front approaching from the west, the NWS said. Areas at risk include major cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.
“This is a setup to create potentially significant flash flooding in affected areas as parts of the Northeast contain saturated and sensitive soils from the heavy rains of the past 10 days,” the NWS said in its Sunday morning forecast.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Sunday urged residents in her state to avoid travel until the rain passes, saying “your car can go from a place of safety to a place of death if you’re swept away in a flash flood.”
The NWS said parts of the Northeast could experience impassable roadways, tornadoes and landslides in some high-lying areas.
At least four people were swept away by flooding Saturday in Pennsylvania’s Upper Makefield Township, about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia, local police said in a written statement. Rescuers said they were searching for three people, including a nine-month-old boy, a two-year-old sister and an adult woman.
Flooding has hit parts of the Northeast in recent days, with Vermont in particular reporting devastating flooding in its capital, Montpelier, which is again under a flood warning on Sunday.
Outside of the Northeast, the NWS is forecasting heavy rain for parts of the Central Plains and central Mississippi Valley along with eastern Texas, parts of Arkansas and Louisiana, and parts of the Gulf Coast.
Heat warnings for a quarter of Americans
Heat warnings for the Pacific Northwest, California, Southwest, Deep South and Florida.
Temperatures above 115 Fahrenheit (46 Celsius) are forecast for high desert areas of Southern California, along with Arizona and Nevada. Widespread record-breaking high temperatures are likely across the Southwest, western Gulf Coast and southern Florida, the NWS said.
Temperatures between 100 F and 110 F are forecast for parts of the Pacific Northwest. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, many homes lack central air conditioning, making it especially dangerous in an area that isn’t used to extreme heat.
The extreme heat in the U.S., warning more than 80 million people, is caused by high-pressure air sitting like a dome over affected areas, preventing any rain storms from moving in to deliver cooler weather, the NWS said.
Little relief from the heat is visible.
“The combination of sweltering temperatures and oppressively high dew points will result in a sweltering heat wave.
south into the coming week,” the NWS wrote.
Scientists say fossil fuel-driven climate change could mean more extreme weather like the one seen in the US in recent days, and warn the world needs to drastically reduce carbon emissions to prevent its catastrophic effects.
Brutal heat is engulfing many European countries.
Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Josie Cao
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