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Two dead in Wisconsin as heat wave blankets large parts of nation

The deaths in Wisconsin are being investigated as probable heat related fatalities. Almost 70 million people in the U.S. were under heat advisories or warnings Wednesday.
Children cool off in a water fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park during a heat wave on June 14, 2022.Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribubne via Getty Images

Two deaths in the Milwaukee area are being investigated as heat related, officials said Wednesday, as almost 70 million people across the U.S. were under advisories due to sweltering conditions.

The deaths of a 39-year-old Milwaukee woman found in her home Tuesday and an 89-year-old Greenfield man who collapsed in his backyard Wednesday were called “probable” heat deaths by the medical examiner's office, but autopsies are pending.

They occurred as Milwaukee and much of the Midwest and South were under a heatwave. In the Milwaukee area, heat indexes of 99 degrees had been forecast Wednesday.

More than 69 million people across the United Stateson Wednesday were under either a heat advisory or an excessive heat warnig,, which stretched from Michigan and Kansas to Florida, according to the National Weather Service

IIn Columbus, Ohio, the misery was compounded by power outages that began Tuesday. Power wasn't expected to be fully restored until Thursday morning.

Around 87,000 customers in the Columbus area remained without power Wednesday afternoon, utility AEP said. The company said that storms this week damaged transmission lines, leaving others overloaded, and that it had to cut power to people to protect the system.

Temperatures were in the 90s Wednesday. Mayor Andrew Ginther urged patience. “I know it’s tough — I’m without power at my house as well,” he tweeted Tuesday.

Parts of Chicago’s western suburbs also had extended electricity outages after storms that happened Monday.

“Like Death Valley,” is how one resident described conditions inside his powerless home to NBC Chicago Wednesday.

Jae'on Thomas, 10, lets the water splash on him on June 15, 2022, at Mellon Park Playground in Pittsburgh as temperatures reached above 90 degrees.Maya Giron / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

IIn Pittsburgh, public school students will have only a half-day Thursday, which is the last day of the school year, because of temperatures expected to be in the 90s. Some schools don’t have air conditioning, which the school district said was of particular concern.

The heat in parts of the Midwest was forecast to continue through Thursday. Columbus is expected to have a high of 94 degrees and Pittsburgh 93.

Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky were among the states expected to see heat indexes of above 100 degrees Thursday, the weather service said. Above-normal temperatures were expected to over the Southeast through Friday, the agency said.