October heat wave breaks records, closes schools

The scorching heat is expected to continue Wednesday with temperatures from the South to the Mid-Atlantic forecast to be 10 to 20 degrees above average.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

An October heat wave throughout much of the eastern half of the United States has broken records and closed some schools.

The heat is expected to continue Wednesday with temperatures from the South to the Mid-Atlantic forecast to be 10 to 20 degrees above average, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of the North will see temperatures in the low 90s, while farther south, they will reach the high 90s.

The scorching temperatures led some areas to close schools, including in Columbus, Ohio, that state's largest school district.

For the second day in a row, Columbus City Schools announced that all classes in its more than 100 schools were canceled due to heat and high humidity. Many of the schools don't have air conditioning throughout the buildings, and temperatures are expected to soar to 91 degrees, according to NBC affiliate WCMH.

About 70 miles west, in Tipp City, Ohio, some schools planned to dismiss students two hours early for a third day due to the heat.

Many parts of Broadway Elementary in Tipp aren't air-conditioned, and the second floor can get very hot, Principal Tina Smith told NBC affiliate WDTN. She said school officials were giving out popsicles and water to the kids, and teachers were holding some classes in shady areas outside.

Farther south, in Maryland, Baltimore County announced that all of its schools that are not air-conditioned will be closed Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 63 high temperature records from the Gulf Coast up through the Northeast were broken, and at least two dozen October records were set. A quarter of the U.S. saw temperatures in the 90s Tuesday.

More records, from Arkansas through the Northeastm are expected to be broken Wednesday.

While the North can expect temperatures to drop by 20-30 degrees Thursday, the South will continue to experience record warmth through Friday, forecasters said.