Video: Broiling heat spreads; dust storm hits Phoenix

  1. Closed captioning of: Broiling heat spreads; dust storm hits Phoenix

    >>> the soggy awful heat wave that has the country in the middle of its grip is spreading tonight. a mass of air that's like a hot, wet blanket covering a huge area from the plains all the way to the northeast now with temperatures in the 90s and 100s for about half of our country. parts or all of 32 states and the district columbia, that's 100 million americans are under some sort of heat advisory. weather channel meteorologist, chris warren , has our report, chris, good evening.

    >> good evening to you, too, brian. we're in a hot pattern and it's also typically the hottest time of the year going into this week. the pattern we're talking about, this area of high pressure over the middle part of the country and with that, you have siking air and that's a warming process so you have sunny skies. all of this works to warm the land and it gets trapped in there. the hot air gets trapped into this dome of very warm air and keep in mind, also, we also have a lot of humidity trapped at the surface as well. that's what makes it so oppressive and so dangerous and it continues to intensify. cold fronts when they go through, would typically cool things down but this dome is so massive it deflects the cold front and protects the cooling so the warm air is trapped. in the coming days, this dome will expand. temperatures in the mid-atlantic and the northeast, by thursday and into friday will be in the upper 90s and even triple digits. you factor in the humidity and it will be even hotter. brian, in the coming days and beyond this weekend, the dome will shift a little bit and around the edges you'll get cooling. for the southern plains , the anchor of that dome, no relief in sight.

    >> i heard you describe it earlier today as an upside down cake pan that mads sense. thanks, chris.

    >>> we're sorry for the folks in phoenix where it happened again, second time in a couple weeks, though not as bad as the last time. another dust storm . this one 3,000 feet high and enveloped in the air in and around the city just last night. but to borrow an old arizona phrase -- at least it's a dry dust.

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/19/2011 7:09:15 PM ET 2011-07-19T23:09:15

Iowans were dead center in the heat wave gripping the central U.S. on Tuesday, with warnings that it will get worse before it gets cooler. And that's after 11 Iowa towns on Monday posted heat indices that made it feel between 114 and 131 degrees.

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Monday's stats were so impressive that the National Weather Service issued a list of heat index highs topped by 4 Iowa towns: Knoxville, 131 degrees; Newton, 129; Atlantic, 126; and Council Bluffs, 126. Freeport, Ill., and Madison, Minn., followed at 124.

Can it really get worse in Iowa?

"Heat indexes might be at their highest point tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, and then it slowly starts getting less warm," National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Olsen was quoted Monday by the Iowa City Press-Citizen as saying.

Some locals refused to let the heat stop them.

"It's insanely hot today, but you can't let that keep you inside," jogger Blake Stephens told the Daily Iowan. "Before you know it, there will be snow on the ground."

Iowa was among 23 states that were under some sort of heat advisory or warning on Tuesday.

"This is completely out of whack for the Upper Midwest," said Chris Vaccaro, a Weather Service spokesman.

In Chicago, where locals usually flee to lake beaches to cool off, all but one beach was closed Tuesday due to severe fog that prevented lifeguards from protecting swimmers.

The blanket of heat was expected to expand eastward in coming days, with temperatures expected to flirt with 100 degrees in Washington, D.C., and in New York.

Along with the heat, patchy but severe thunderstorms were forecast across the upper Midwest, through the Ohio Valley and into the mid-Atlantic region. Where the storms hit, humidity could become even more stifling afterward, Vaccaro said.

Thunderstorms in Cleveland late on Monday left more than 20,000 residents without power.

In Kansas, the heat tested eight drum teams preparing for a "Drums Across America" competition in Wichita.

"We're struggling," Ian Mann of the Teal Sound Drum & Bugle Corps told The Wichita Eagle on Monday between outdoor practice sessions. The team is based in Jacksonville, Fla.

The team has been drinking lots of water several days in advance, he said. It also travels with "a medical EMT and physical trainer," said band staffer Mike Steiner, "so that when we get to this part of the country we're prepared."

Event organizers did move the competition back an hour so that teams and viewers would be a bit cooler.

According to The Weather Channel, highs of 105 degrees were possible in some areas and heat indices could make it feel like 125 degrees.

In St. Louis, Mo., police found four children and a dog left inside a car outside a supermarket on Monday. The children were treated and no arrests were made.

While in the car just five minutes, the children were exposed to danger, the city's health director said.

"One minute is too long," the St. Louis Post Dispatch quoted Pam Walker as saying. "A car can heat up to 120 degrees in five minutes."

Last week, three adults in St. Louis were charged with endangering three children found inside a parked car while the adults were at a restaurant.

Roads buckling
The National Weather Service said as many 13 deaths in the past week in the Midwest could be blamed on the effects of the heat.

In Oklahoma City, which saw a 28th day of triple-digit heat on Monday, two lanes of a major interstate in downtown were closed after buckling on a bridge caused steel expansion joints to rise, damaging cars as they passed over.

The city is on pace to break its record for days at 100 or above — 50 set in 1980 — with triple-digit heat possible through September.

In Tulsa, a hole opened in the pavement of a highway bridge and a section of U.S. 75 in a nearby town buckled.

It's even worse in western Oklahoma, where temperatures at 110 or above have been common in recent weeks. In Enid, asphalt at a major intersection along U.S. Highway 412 buckled Saturday night from the intense heat.

Last week, a buckled road near Enid caused a motorcyclist to go airborne and then tumble for hundreds of feet. The driver, who was wearing kevlar-laced gear, was airlifted to a hospital where he was being treated for injuries that included broken bones and an injured back.

Oklahoma poultry producers have deployed fans and some even hose down rooftops to try to lower temperatures, John Ward, executive vice president of the state Poultry Federation told msnbc.com.

"We haven't lost a lot of birds," at least so far, he said, adding that "we probably lost more chickens to snow storms" that caved in roofs in recent winters.

The U.S. Humane Society worries that even brief power outages can kill thousands of chickens, as was the case in North Carolina last week.

"The vast majority of farm animals are confined indoors at all times, meaning if there's a power outage, you can have tens of thousands of animals in one building dead within an hour, said Paul Shapiro, who tracks farm animal conditions for the activist group.

"The problem is inherent to large operations," he added. Steps like shaded, outdoor access "can help avert" heat deaths, he said.

'Most significant' heat wave in 5 years likely
The heat wave is slowly moving east, with high humidity adding to the misery.

"This will likely be the most significant heat wave the region has experienced in at least the last five years," the National Weather Service said Monday.

According to WNBC, scorching temperatures near 100 degrees are expected in the New York area on Friday.

At the other end of the U.S., the Seattle area has had what a local TV station is calling "the 78-minute summer." KOMO TV reported Monday that that's the amount of time it has been 80 degrees or warmer so far this summer.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Photos: Heat wave across the US

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  1. James Maxim of Lunenburg, Mass., soaks in the cooling water of the Saco River in Limington, Maine, on Friday, July 22. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Bikers cool off at the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America rally in Bloomsburg, Pa., on July 22. (Jimmy May / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Orient Billie cools off with a fan at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., on July 22. (Mike Lawrence / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Susan Fernandez, of Lawrence, Mass., enjoys the spray of a hydrant opened by the city's public works on July 22. (Elise Amendola / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A customer wipes sweat off his forehead after purchasing an air conditioner at a store in New York City on July 22. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Children at a summer camp in Andover, Mass. throw snowballs and play on a pile of ice shavings delivered from an area hockey rink on July 22. (Elise Amendola / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A fire truck in Linden, Mich., provided this entertainment on Thursday, July 21. (Ryan Garza / The Flint Journal via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Vanity Mendez, 11, left, Isaiah Rivera, 6, center, and Jonathan Medina, 11, cool off at an open fire hydrant in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan on Thursday. A heatwave that has enveloped much of the central part of the country for the past couple of weeks is moving east and temperatures are expected to top the 100-degree mark. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. William Dyer, Jr., of Gortham, Maine stays cool seated on his beach chair waist-deep in Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, on Thursday. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Nathan Pakozdi, 9, tends to his family's hogs as they cool off beneath a pair of fans at the Warren County Fair in Lebanon, Ohio, on Thursday. Farmers and other animal keepers are toiling away to keep creatures cool during the hot weather sweeping much of the country. (Al Behrman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Virginia Carol Thompson, 70, panhandles at the intersection of West Reno and Klein in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Thursday. Thompson said when it gets too hot, she stays under the bridge where she sleeps at night. Temperatures in Oklahoma City have exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 days straight. (Brett Deering / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Paving supervisor John Recupero enjoys a piece of watermelon with his crew, as they wait for an additional asphalt truck with temperatures soaring near 100 degrees in Westborough, Mass., on Thursday. (Christine Peterson / Worcester Telegram and Gazette via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Civil War reenactors sleep in the shade on a blistering hot day at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia on Thursday as they mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas/Bull Run, the first major battle of the Civil War. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Swimmers look on as one of the 250 bags of ice is dumped into the Franklin Memorial Swimming Pool in Franklin, Ind., on Thursday. Temperatures are expected to climb into the high 90s with heat index well over 100. (Darron Cummings / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Jay Kennedy organizes fans donated by Comcast-Spectacor to be distributed to seniors at the Philadelphia Senior Center Thursday in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Rick Vermeulen cools off with a drink from his water cooler, taking a break from the 95 degree heat on Thursday in Bay City, Mich. Vermeulen and his crew from ATT were working on building a new manhole on Midland Street. (Michael Randolph / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Nasier Wright, 4, sits on a basketball near cups of lemonade on the courtyard at the Pennington Court apartments on Thursday in Newark, N.J. Residents of the 223-unit public housing complex gathered outdoors as temperatures neared the 100-degree mark. (Julio Cortez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Olivia Provis, 6, stands still to have sweat wiped off her forehead by her mother, Angela Provis, right, as they shield themselves from the afternoon sun while waiting for a bus on Thursday in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. DTE Energy employees unload bags of ice at the Gerry Kulick Community Center in Ferndale, Mich. on Thursday where a cooling center was set up for those affected by power outages. (Carlos Osorio / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A very hot and thirsty dog named Buck cools off drinking bottled water poured by his owner Sue Anderson of South Windsor, Conn., during a legion baseball game at the peak of the heat Wednesday afternoon, July 20. A lengthy, blistering heat wave is blanketing the eastern half of the United States. (Jim Michaud / Journal Inquirer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Nine-year old Adrienne Curtis douses herself with buckets of cold water on Wednesday afternoon in Peoria, Ill. (Ron Johnson / Peoria Journal Star via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Leena Allen cools off by standing in front of a misting fan during a visit to the Saint Louis Zoo on Wednesday in St. Louis. Much of the United States is trapped under a heat "dome" caused by a huge area of high pressure that's compressing hot, moist air beneath it, leading to miserable temperatures. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. As temperatures hit triple digits, a zoo keeper at Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., cools off a Double Yellow Headed Amazon parrot with water spray, Wednesday. (Nati Harnik / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Bathers beat the midday heat at the Devil's Pool in Wissahickon Valley Park on Wednesday in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Jayson Hamler, 7, plays in some water outside a school on Wednesday in Milwaukee. Workers and residents in the city are contending with highest temperatures of the summer season as a prolonged stretch of hot, humid weather takes hold on the upper midwest region of the United States. (Morry Gash / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Vincenzo Vitalb cools off before a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday in Chicago. The afternoon heat index exceeded 100 degrees in the area. (Nam Y. Huh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Head athletic trainer Eric Claas, left, applies a cold towel to sophomore Cuong Nguyn during a morning football practice at Father Ryan High School on Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn. With the summer heating up, schools are trying to keep their student-athletes off the field during the hottest parts of the day by rescheduling practices and scrimmages for early in the morning or in the evening. (Mark Humphrey / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Christian Rhodes substitutes a water balloon for a baseball as he and his youth baseball team try to beat the heat during a practice at Brandenstein Park in Watertown, Wis. on Tuesday, July 19. (Adam Tobias / The Watertown Daily Times via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Jonathan Decker, right, from Hot Springs, Ark., and Charlie Woolsey, from Harrison, Ark., tear a roof off a tornado-damaged home as the sun dips low in the sky on Tuesday in Joplin, Mo. Despite a recent heat wave, crews continue to clean up and rebuild nearly two months after an EF-5 tornado destroyed much of Joplin. (Charlie Riedel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. John C. Anderson, of Silvis, Ill., takes a big drink of water next to a sculpture of the Blues Brothers after riding his bike from Silvis to downtown Rock Island, Ill. Tuesday. Anderson rode the approximately 10-miles to Rock Island to perform a couple of heat wave related songs for the downtown lunch-time crowd. (Todd Mizener / The Dispatch via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Luke McCrory, 5, from Coopersville, cools off in front of a giant fan at the Berlin Fair in Marne, Mich., on Tuesday. (Cory Morse / The Grand Rapids Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Leon Buys is doused in water while taking a break from midway set-up chores at the Dane County Fair in Madison, Wis. Tuesday. Workers and residents in the city are contending with highest temperatures of the summer season as a prolonged stretch of hot, humid weather takes hold on the upper midwest region of the United States. (John Hart / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Five-year-old Dam young Kim, of Korea, makes hand prints in the condensation on one of the windows of a State Capitol doorway while waiting to leave the building with her family, Tuesday, in St. Paul, Minn. The foreign visitors were able to see the Capitol when Gov. Mark Dayton ordered it opened to the public after being closed for 18 days during the state's shutdown. Dew points reached a state record 83 percent and the heat index hit 119 degrees in Minneapolis and St. Paul. (Tom Olmscheid / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. A man soaks his feet in a fountain while reading a magazine on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on a warm summer afternoon in Boston, Massachusetts Tuesday. (Brian Snyder / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. In Council Bluffs, Iowa, where the heat index made it feel like 126 degrees on Monday, July 18, locals are also dealing with potential flooding from the Missouri River. Here volunteers fill sand bags on Tuesday. (Nati Harnik / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Participants in Drums Across America, a competition featuring eight elite drum and bugle corps from around the country, take a water break Monday, July 18, near Wichita, Kan., during practice. Temperatures rose above 100 degrees across the state. (Mike Hutmacher / The Wichita Eagle via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Walter Gatewood, 87, sits on his front porch trying to beat the heat in Flint, Mich., Monday. A heat wave smothered the Midwest with temperatures over 100 degrees. (Paul Sancya / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. A child cools off in mist at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. on Monday. (Nati Harnik / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. A sun worshipper floats down Sunset River at Knott's Soak City Water Park in Buena Park, Ca. as temperatures around the county soared Monday. (H. Lorren Au Jr. / Orange County Register via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Malee, a three-month old Asian elephant, cools off with a spray of water in her wading pool at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Monday. (Sue Ogrocki / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Lillie Walker, 90, accepts bottles of cold water from Bob Sidwell, the City of Jennings housing, streets and parks director, as he checks on the elderly during a heat wave Monday, in Jennings, Mo. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Emergency personnel assist a woman after she was overcome by heat during the graveside service for Terre Haute Police Department Officer Brent Long in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday. (Darron Cummings / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Jazia Pratt, 8, fills a bucket with water from a fire hydrant in the afternoon summer heat Monday, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 22: Romona Johnson (L) plays in a fountain at the Inner Harbor with her children Japrea Parker, 12, (C) and Janae Parker, 9, (R) on July 22, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. A large heatwave has been crossing the United States and is causing extreme summer temperatures. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) (Rob Carr / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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