Children take refuge from the heat by playing in the fountain at the Kansas State Fair on Monday in Hutchinson, Kan.
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC News
A surge of late-summer heat was blazing across the U.S. Midwest on Tuesday, prompting officials to shutter public schools in Illinois and Ohio as near-record high temperatures turned the region into a veritable oven.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the southern flank of Michigan, including metro Detroit, which will run through Wednesday night as temperatures are slated to reach a sizzling 96 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius).
“We thought the dog days of summer were behind us, but we’re having this last high heat event with temperatures above normal,” Matt Mosteiko, a Weather Service meteorologist in Michigan, told Reuters.
A heat advisory also loomed over Ohio as temperatures were forecast to near the state record high of 96 degrees, set 30 years ago. Temperatures hovered roughly 15 degrees above normal. The heat index could cross 100 degrees in some areas, according to NBC station WLWT in Cincinnati.
In Middletown, outside of Cincinnati, students were let out of school early due to the extreme heat. Meanwhile, in the Chicago area, city officials ordered the closure of some 50 schools.
At O’Hare International Airport, temperatures reached a boiling afternoon high of 92 degrees, just a few notches away from the record 95 set 30 years ago, according to NBCChicago.com.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said more than 100 cooling centers were being opened across the state on Tuesday. He pleaded with residents to stave off dehydration and other effects of horrible heat.
Temperatures are not expected to ease overnight. Even more high heat was expected going into Wednesday, when it will work its way east, forecasters told Reuters.
So far the power grid is holding up to the demand of thousands of air conditioners, as many cities see temperatures five to 10 degrees above average. NBC's Tom Costello reports.
By Matthew DeLuca, Staff Writer, NBC News
A sweltering heat wave that has pushed temperatures into the 90s from Cape Cod to Oregon continued Wednesday as emergency crews, power companies and commuters sweat it out with little relief in sight before the end of the week.
The countrywide slow bake is expected to continue until a cold front moves south on Friday over the Plains, making thunderstorms likely, the National Weather Service said. Temperatures along the East Coast looked unlikely to tail off until Sunday, forecasters said.
Low temperatures read like highs; the lowest temperature in New York City since Sunday has been 77 degrees. And the heat index -- the "feels like" factor -- is well into triple digits for tens of millions of people as clear, sunny skies combine with high humidity in many places.
As the heat sweeps across the US, in Atlanta they finally cracked 90 degrees. It has been 40 years since the city has gone this deep into July without hitting that temperature. NBC's Mike Seidel reports.
“Plain and simple, this week may feel the worst of any week for this summer in the Northeast,” Accuweather.com meteorologist Alex Sosnowski told Reuters. “The I-95 region will be a virtual sauna bath.”
People across the country struggled to stay cool, with power companies urging customers to turn off nonessential devices and heat advisories in effect for 16 states including parts of New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Every state but Alaska, New Mexico, and Hawaii stood to hit 90 degrees on Wednesday, NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said.
The high temperature in Chicago Wednesday afternoon was 94 degrees — the hottest day of the year in the city, the Weather Channel reported.
New York City's afternoon high in Central Park was 97 degrees, just 3 degrees shy of the record 100 degrees set in 1953.
The high was also 97 degrees at Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C. Philadelphia hit 96 and Boston 94 — 12 degrees above normal.
“A lack of a breeze in the humid conditions at night will make it very rough in urban areas without air conditioning or a fan,” Sosnowski told Reuters.
It was so hot Wednesday afternoon that chemicals from fire-fighting system above pumps of a gas station were released onto patrons in West Hartford, Conn., sending one woman to the hospital as a precaution, NBCConnecticut.com reported. Police blamed heat for the chemical release.
Forty-three states are experiencing temperatures in the 90s this week, and 16 have issued heat advisories or warnings. The heat is expected to break over the weekend. NBC's Tom Costello reports and TODAY's Al Roker gives the forecast.
An 18-year-old New York City Council intern passed out at a mayoral campaign stop on Tuesday morning and waited 30 minutes before she was picked up by an ambulance, NBC New York reported. At one point, mayoral candidate Christine Quinn called the city’s police commissioner to speed up the process. Area hospitals have seen a 5 to 20 percent spike in heat-related illnesses, according to the station.
There was little relief in many cities overnight as temperatures stayed high through the evening hours.
Andrew Burton / Getty Images
Chess players use umbrellas to find shade in Union Square on July 16, 2013 in New York City.
“In this case, it’s the longevity of the heat wave, that poses the biggest concern, rather than the magnitude of the temperatures themselves,” Weather Channel meteorologist Jon Erdman said.
Compounding the sizzling heat in Prince Georges County, right outside Washington, D.C., crews worked to make emergency repairs to a major water main – but some residents in the Maryland county will not be able to get more than a trickle out of their faucets on Wednesday.
“The more judiciously you use the water, the longer it will last,” Kira Lewis, a spokesperson for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, told NBC Washington. “We’re reminding folks new water is not coming into the system Wednesday.”
The water shortage could last three to five days in the affected area, NBC Washington reported.
Two deaths in the Chicago area on Tuesday were cited as possibly related to the heat, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office told NBC Chicago. Temperatures in the city could feel as high as 105 degrees in the city on Friday, forecasters said.
A 78-year-old Kentucky man whose body was found around 9 p.m. local time on Tuesday died from heat exhaustion, the Mason County deputy coroner said, according to NBC affiliate LEX18. Roy Allen Bishop had gone missing from his home about 12 hours earlier.
And New York City Wednesday reported its first heat-related death of the summer. A 57-year-old Staten Island man died of hyperthermia on July 8, the city's medical examiner ruled, NBCNewYork.com reported.
The near-record temperatures and humidity have already strained the electricity supply in New England, causing the region’s power grid operator to urge people to turn off lights and appliances they do not need as a precautionary measure.
As temperatures soar across the country, NBC's chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman shares how to beat the heat and stay healthy, and describes who is most at risk from the high temperatures.
“As the heat continues to build throughout the week, electricity demand is expected to increase significantly, which is likely to result in tight system conditions,” said company vice president Vamsi Chadalavada in a release. ISO New England expected to hit a peak power demand of about 27,800 megawatts on Thursday.
Power usage also threatened to reach new highs in New York, where Con Edison said crews have worked around the clock to repair outages to more than 7,600 customers since temperatures began to rise again on Sunday. No usage records have been set yet, the company said, but that could change as the state stood to see no relief on Wednesday or Thursday.
In Maine, where temperatures reached 90 on Tuesday, the spiking mercury had people rushing to purchase new air conditioning units, causing some stores in the Portland area to sell out over the weekend, hardware store owner Tim Currier said.
“It takes good hot weather like this to push people over the edge,” Currier told local newspaper the Portland Press Herald. “This is the time when everyone starts calling because they’re panicking and can’t find [air conditioners] anywhere.”
Most people will need to wait for the weekend to get more than temporary relief from the stifling heat, however.
“There is relief ahead,” the Weather Channel’s Erdman said. “Cooler air should arrive in the upper Midwest beginning Friday. By this weekend, the Northeast will receive the cooler air with open arms. All this will come at the cost of severe thunderstorms, however.”
Jeff Black of NBC News contributed to this report.
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Toby Keith performs at the Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert in Norman, Okla., on Saturday.
By Maggie Schneider, weather.com
Nearly 1,300 people were treated for heat-related problems Saturday at a benefit concert for Oklahoma tornado victims, a hospital spokesperson said.
Most of the people received minor treatment at cooling stations or a medical facility within the University of Oklahoma stadium in Norman, but 170 required more treatment and 21 were taken to hospitals, Kelly Wells, spokesperson for Norman Regional Health System told NBC News.
The Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert in Norman featured Oklahoma resident Toby Keith, along with a who’s who of country stars, including Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson and Mel Tillis. It was held at the University of Oklahoma’s 82,000-seat stadium. The crowd was estimated at more than 60,000, the Tulsa World reported.
Keith grew up in Moore, Okla., which was devastated May 20 by an EF5 tornado that killed 23 people. Proceeds of the concert were to go to the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund, The Oklahoman reported.
Margaret Schneider of weather.com contributed to this report.
Excessive heat continues in the West, where the added danger of monsoon flow can deliver dry lightning strikes. KNBC's Fritz Coleman reports.
By M. Alex Johnson and Jeff Black, NBC News, NBC News
The brutal heat wave baking much of the Southwest was bringing record-breaking temperatures Monday to traditionally cool parts of the Northwest where summer is more a state of mind than a season of sweat.
The oppressive heat — unusually high even for summer ovens like Death Valley, Calif., and Las Vegas — has immersed the western third of the country in dangerous conditions, feeding wildfires and droughts with little relief in sight. It has already killed at least one person, an elderly man who suffered cardiac arrest Saturday in an un-air-conditioned residence in Las Vegas, NBC station KSNV reported.
After setting records across the Southwest, the weather system — a smothering dome of high pressure stretching from Montana to Arizona — was starting to broil western areas of Washington and Oregon, where high temperatures might top out in the mid-80s once or twice a year, thanks to the cooling effects of the Oregon Coast Mountains and the Olympic Mountains in Washington.
"It is just going to get hotter," said Mike Linden, a meteorologist for NBC station KNDU of Kennewick, Wash.
Heat advisories and warnings covered Washington, Oregon and Idaho through Tuesday evening.
Two guys from the National Weather Service harnessed the power of the sun and took advantage of the extreme heat wave scorching the Western U.S. to bake up some fresh cookies on the dashboard of their car. TODAY's Dylan Dreyer reports.
"The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely," the National Weather Service said.
"Hot weather isn't frequent in Seattle," Mayor Mike McGinn said. While the high of 90 degrees Monday would be welcome relief for people in the Southwest, it broke Seattle's July 1 record of 87.
The city was closing the University Bridge, a major commuter passage, for 10 minutes every hour so it could be flushed to keep it from getting too hot, the Seattle Times reported. East of Renton, a southern suburb, work crews were trying Monday to repair a busy road that buckled in the heat — essentially melting open, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
McGinn noted that many homes don't have air conditioning, and he urged residents to use the 18 city library branches that do have it as cooling centers.
In other Northwest cities where the Pacific and the mountains have little effect, triple-digit temperatures were expected Tuesday. Yakima, Wash., was forecast to hit 106 degrees. Ashland, Ore., was forecast to hit 105. And Boise, Idaho, was expected to top out at 109 — 2 degrees below the all-time record, set on July 19, 1960.
"It's amazing how much we take for granted shade and cool weather until it gets really hot like this, and then you really realize it," Abby Sweet, who was outside watering plants Monday at CFW Earth and Wood Nursery in Missoula, Mont., told NBC station KECI.
Meanwhile, areas from the Carolinas to New England have experienced flooding because of a big, rain-producing weather system that has settled along the coastline. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
The Northwest was only going through what residents of the rest of the West have been experiencing since last week. How hot has it been? It even hit 83 degrees Sunday in Fairbanks, Alaska.
It's hard to set records for heat in the Southwest, but more fell Sunday. Las Vegas hit 117 degrees. Since record-keeping began there in 1937, the only other times the temperature reached 117 degrees were on July 19, 2005, and July 24, 1942, according to the National Weather Service.
In addition to the man who died, seven other people were hospitalized for heat-related illnesses Sunday, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
The mercury rocketed to 128 degrees Sunday in Death Valley National Park, the National Weather Service said, tying the record for the hottest June day anywhere in the country. But the Los Angeles Times reported that the National Park Service thermometer — 200 yards away — recorded a temperature of 129.9, which shatters the record for June.
The highest-ever recorded air temperature on the planet, according to the Weather Service, was 134 degrees on July 10, 1913, in Death Valley’s Greenland Ranch.
Meanwhile, nearly half of Utah, where temperatures reached triple digits for the fifth straight day in Salt Lake City, was suffering a severe drought, NBC station KSL of Salt Lake City reported.
"We have a huge drought situation," Claudia Jarrett, chairwoman of the Sanpete County Commission, told KSL. "There's just been no rain. The streams are not filling and the ponds are not filling. It is a critical water situation."
Adan Carrillo, a spokesman for the department, said many highways have expansion joints designed to lessen contraction and expansion due to weather. But years of wear and tear have taken a toll.
"With the amount of heat we're experiencing, the joints are saturated with dirt and debris, leaving little to no room for these concrete panels to expand," he said.
Tracy Jarrett and Alastair Jamieson of NBC News contributed to this report.
Dozens of people have been hospitalized because of heat-related injuries in the high temperatures that are gripping the Western U.S. Some cities have seen temperatures soar far past the hundred-degree mark, while the heat continues. TODAY's Dylan Dreyer reports.
Heat warnings or advisories are posted in parts of eight western states with temperatures of 120 degrees not out of the question for parts of California, Nevada and Arizona into next week. Residents are advised to protect themselves and their pets. The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel reports.
By Tracy Jarrett, NBC News
A sizzling heat wave sent temperatures soaring and records tumbling in Western states on Saturday, leading to one suspected heat-related death and prompting officials to urge people to stay inside and take extra precautions.
Las Vegas' McCarran airport tied a record for the day at 115 degrees, and at a National Weather Service office in the southwest section of the city the thermometer spiked up to 118 degrees. In Death Valley, Calif., it was 124 degrees.
A Las Vegas Fire & Rescue crew responded to a report of an elderly man in cardiac arrest at residence without air conditioning on Saturday. When paramedics arrived, they found the man was dead, NBC station KSNV reported. The man, who was not identified, did have medical issues but paramedics characterized his death as heat-related.
Another elderly man whose car air conditioner went out while on a road trip fell sick, stopped and called 911. He was admitted to the hospital and reported in serious condition.
It was so hot in Nevada that rangers at Lake Mead persuaded tourists not to hike, according to the National Park Service, which posted the warning on its Facebook page.
In Phoenix, the temperature rose to 119 degrees — the fourth hottest day in recorded history in the desert city.
Two cities in Texas — San Antonio (108 degrees) and Houston (107 degrees) — set all-time highs for the month of June.
“Where it is hot now it it’ll stay hot,” said Weather Channel meteorologist Mark Ressler.
Several records were also set in California, with Palm Springs hitting 122 degrees, beating the previous high from 1994, according to the National Weather Service.
While some states such as Colorado and New Mexico may be beginning to cool, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana will continue to experience all-time temperature highs at least for the next two weeks, Ressler said.
“The ridge doesn’t completely go away in the next 2 weeks, so temperatures will come down somewhat but there’s no time soon where it will turn into the east coast where they are experiencing below average temperatures, “ he said.
“The heat will stay west and there will be no great break in heat anytime soon.”
Such extreme weather was causing health concerns. On Friday, 200 people were treated for heat problems at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, where it was 115 degrees.
Dr. Kein Reilly with University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine told NBC News Tucson affiliate KVOA that Arizona residents should stay inside and drink plenty of water.
"If you get dizzy or light headed those are some signs of dehydration. If you become confused that's a real warning sign. That's someone who needs to come into the emergency department," Reilly said.
Julie Jacobson / AP
From left, Subrina Madrid, Sarah Hudak, Jennifer, Shackelford, all of North Las Vegas, Nev., sit in the shallow waters along Boulder Beach at Lake Mead, Saturday, June 29, 2013 near Boulder City, Nevada. The three planned to spend the day at the lake to escape the heat in Las Vegas.
Cooling stations were set up to shelter the homeless as well as elderly people who can't afford to run their air conditioners, Phoenix, Ariz, Sheriff Joe Arpaio told NBC News affiliate KSNV.
Keeping people cool is not the only concern in the heat.
“If it’s hot for you it’s hot for your pet, and ultimately we are their voice so we are responsible for them. Use common sense,” said Bretta Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Humane Society.
Nelson suggests keeping your pets indoors and making sure they are hydrated. If you need to take your pet for a walk keep it quick, said Nelson. She also suggests foot booties for hot cement.
“It’s important to understand pets have to have shelter shade plenty of drinking water and if they don’t they can result in animal cruelty charges,” she said.
The same rules apply for people.
“As much as possible have constant water available and also stay inside in air conditioning those are two things I would suggest,” said Ressler.
Ressler said record highs are expected over the next few days, and record highs this time of year mean, “it is extremely hot.”
In Los Angeles, heat-related power failures snarled traffic, and in Death Valley, where temperatures hit triple digits, the forecast is could bring a record 129 degrees. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports.
By M. Alex Johnson, staff writer, NBC News
More than thirty people were taken to hospitals for heat-related injuries and illnesses Friday at a music festival in Las Vegas, authorities said, as a wave of life-threatening blistering temperatures blazed across the West.
Clark County fire personnel treated close to 200 people for heat-related nausea, vomiting and fatigue Friday afternoon and evening at the Vans Warped Tour, an eclectic outdoor music festival at the Silverton Casino off the famous Strip.
Most were given water and taken to shaded areas, but 34 had to be taken to hospitals for further treatment, the fire department said.
"It's pretty intense," said Clark County spokesman Eric Pappa. "We're used to summer temperatures of 100, 105. But we're beyond 100. It's a scorcher."
The high temperature officially hit 117 degrees at Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport — equaling the airport's record — Friday as thousands of people streamed to the casino site for the festival. The thermostat fell slightly Saturday, leveling at a still-steamy 105 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.
Records are similarly expected to be broken across the West and the Southwest through the weekend and into next week, the National Weather Service said, thanks to a high pressure "dome" parked over the sprawling region.
Death Valley, Calif., could even top 130 degrees Saturday through Monday, just below the world record high of 134 recorded there on July 10, 1913, The Weather Channel said.
Temperatures in Phoenix are expected to soar between 115 and 120 degrees. In western parts of Arizona, temperatures could reach 125.
Officials in Arizona warned residents to take precautions.
"If you get dizzy or lightheaded, those are some signs of dehydration. If you become confused, that's a real warning sign," Dr. Kevin Reilly of the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine told NBC station KVOA of Tucson.
In Las Vegas, meanwhile, the National Weather Service warned of the potential for a "life-threatening heat event." Temperatures were expected to match those of a July 2005 heat wave when 17 people died in the Las Vegas Valley.
The extreme weather is expected to reach Reno, Nev., reach across Utah and stretch into Wyoming and Idaho, where forecasters are predicting potentially lethal hot spells. Triple-digit temperatures were forecast during Idaho's Special Olympics in Boise.
Matt York / AP
Runners take advantage of lower temperatures at sunrise Thursday in Mesa, Ariz. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest as building high pressure triggers major warming in eastern California, Nevada and Arizona.
Organizers urged coaches to prepare their athletes.
"The basic stuff, wearing breathable, appropriate clothes, staying in the shade as much as possible, staying hydrated is obviously a big thing," Matt Caropino, director of sports and training for Special Olympics Idaho, told NBC station KTVB. "We've put in place some misters that we're going to have at our outdoor venues."
The National Weather Service advised people to keep tabs on signs of potentially lethal heat stroke.
"Heat stroke symptoms include an increase in body temperature, which leads to deliriousness, unconsciousness and red, dry skin," it said in a report. "Death can occur when body temperatures reach or exceed 106-107 degrees."
Los Angeles was forecast to peak between the upper 80s and the lower 90s Saturday as inland communities like Burbank edge toward the low 100s. Palm Springs, Calif., no stranger to steamy summers, may peak at 120 degrees, NBC station KMIR reported. Sweltering heat also is expected for the state's Central Valley, according to The Weather Channel.
While the west remains hot and dry, the east is getting lots of rain that has resulted in flash flooding. Some of the worst flooding was in upstate New York where whole neighborhoods remain under water. The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel reports.
Commercial airlines were also monitoring conditions because excessive heat can throw flights off course. The atmosphere becomes less dense in extremely high heat humidity, meaning there's less lift for airplanes — calculations that have to be made individually for every type of aircraft.
Triple-digit heat forced several airlines to bring operations to a halt after Phoenix climbed to 122 degrees in June 1990.
Daniel Arkin of NBC News contributed to this report.
High temperatures have been baking Nevada, Arizona and parts of California, where thermometer hit 126 in Death Valley. Meanwhile, storms are rolling through the mid-Atlantic. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
By Michelle Rindels, The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — A high pressure system hanging over the West this weekend is expected to bring temperatures extreme even in a region used to baking during the summer.
Notoriously hot Death Valley's forecast could touch 129 degrees, not far off the world-record high of 134 logged there July 10, 1913. The National Weather Service called for 118 in Phoenix, and 117 in Las Vegas on Sunday — a mark reached only twice in Sin City.
"It's brutal out there," said Leslie Carmine, spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, which runs a daytime shelter in Las Vegas to draw homeless people out of the dangerous heat and equip them with sunscreen and bottled water.
While the Southwest boasts the most shocking temperatures, the heat wave is driving up the mercury all over the West. Western Washington — better known for rainy coffee shop weather — should break the 90s early next week, according to the weather service.
Dry southern Utah is forecast to reach higher than 110 degrees, and northern Utah — which markets "the greatest snow on Earth" — is also expected to see triple digits.
The heat wave is "a huge one," National Weather Service specialist Stuart Seto said. "We haven't seen one like this for several years, probably the mid- to late 2000s."
The system's high pressure causes air to sink and warm, drawing down humidity.
"As the air warms, it can hold more moisture, and so what that does is take out the clouds," Seto said.
The hottest cities in the West are taking precautions to protect vulnerable residents. Police are pleading with drivers not to leave babies or pets in their car, and temporary cooling stations are welcoming homeless people and seniors hesitant to use the air conditioning.
Matt York / AP
Runners take advantage of lower temperatures at sunrise Thursday in Mesa, Ariz.
Officials said extra personnel have been added to the U.S. Border Patrol's Search, Trauma, and Rescue unit as people illegally crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona could succumb to exhaustion and dehydration.
Several bodies of immigrants have been found in the last week in Arizona. Agents in the Tucson sector rescued more than 170 people from the desert during a 30-day stretch in May and June when temperatures were even lower than expected in the coming days.
At low-lying Lake Mead, which straddles the Arizona-Nevada border and is anticipating 120 degrees this weekend, rangers are positioned at trailheads to discourage visitors from hiking.
Earlier in June, a group of Boy Scouts hiking in the Colorado River canyon fell prey to soaring heat. Four teenagers and an adult had to be rescued, while a 69-year-old Scout leader died.
"We don't want a repeat of the tragedy we had a few weeks ago," Lake Mead spokesman Kevin Turner said.
Rescue divers search for missing persons after a packed outdoor deck collapsed at a popular Miami-area sports bar Thursday June 13, 2013.
By Matthew DeLuca, Staff Writer, NBC News
Thirty-three basketball fans were injured after a deck collapse at a popular Miami-area bar and grill sent them tumbling into the waters of Biscayne Bay on Thursday night as the Miami Heat took on the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, authorities said.
About 100 people were on the deck of Shuckers Waterfront Grill when it collapsed around 9:45 p.m. local time, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue said, and two dozen were transported for medical treatment. Two people injured in the collapse remained in critical condition late Thursday night.
The outdoor deck behind a popular Miami-area sports bar that was crowded with basketball fans Thursday night collapsed, throwing patrons into Biscayne Bay, injuring over 20 people, including three critically. NBC's Mark Potter reports.
“We were up on the fifth floor and just heard a crash, like something collided or like a thunderstorm,” witness Erick Williams told NBC Miami. “They were injured, there were leg injuries, there were body injuries, people just shocked and awed.”
The restaurant sits partially in the bay and part on land in North Bay Village, an island between Miami and Miami Beach.
Witnesses said they found themselves stuck in the water after the deck, situated about five feet above the bay, gave way beneath them. They said bystanders jumped in to help injured people caught among the floating wood, tables, and umbrellas.
“There was just a crack, and then we were in the water,” Crystal Infante told the Miami Herald. “It was really hard to get out, and you couldn’t find anyone.”
Dozens of emergency responders worked to get patrons to safety after the collapse, which occurred minutes before the NBA Finals halftime. Divers from Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue and Miami-Dade Police plucked injured patrons from the bay’s shallow water.
Peter Zalewski of Miami Beach was griping about his team’s performance when suddenly he was surrounded by “chaos.”
“It’s a little starling because you’re sitting there watching the game, you’re complaining about Wade not making his baskets and Bosh not getting any rebounds and next thing you know, there’s this huge noise, the landscape just disappears, people disappear and the ones still standing start running toward you,” Zalewski told the Miami Herald.
“Most of the people were just calling out, ‘Is anybody missing, is anybody missing?’” he told the paper. “You just kept hearing that over and over and over.”
Authorities said they believed everyone was accounted for by early Friday.
“This is a real tragedy,” North Bay Village Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps said. “Shuckers has been here for many, many years. People come from all around to enjoy the view and the food. This is really unfortunate.”
Team members expressed their concern for their hometown fans hurt in the deck collapse.
“I want to share our concerns as an organization and our gratitude to our fans back in Miami for their support,” Heat player Dwyane Wade told reporters in a postgame interview.
The Heat pulled ahead to beat the Spurs, 109-93, to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
A team of Las Vegas rescuers saved four children and one adult Saturday afternoon at White Rock Canyon at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Another man died from what is believed to be a heat-related illness.
By Sophia Rosenbaum, NBC News
As storms and rain threaten much of the rest of the country, record-breaking heat in parts of the Southwest was believed to be responsible for at least two deaths this weekend.
Boy Scout leader Clawson Bowman Jr., a 69-year-old Las Vegas native, was found dead Saturday in Lake Mead National Recreation Area park, which straddles Arizona and Nevada. The rescue team saved four boys, all Boy Scouts, and another man, who were treated for heat-related illnesses.
"Our sympathies go out to the Bowman family," said Christie Vanover, a spokeswoman for the park, in a press release. "We are thankful that, with the support of around 30 first responders, the others were safely rescued. The boys were very brave this afternoon as they tried to explain their location to our dispatchers."
Vanover told NBC News that at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Lake Mead rangers got a phone call that te two adult males were suffering from heat stroke. But a medical examiner has not released the official cause of death for Bowman, Vanover said.
And on Friday, a 15-month-old baby boy died because of heat exposure in Fresno, California, according to the Fresno Bee. Local temperatures had reached 101 degrees and the child was unintentionally left in the car, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the Community Regional Medical Center.
Saturday brought one of the hottest temperatures Reno, Nevada has seen this early in June at 98 degrees. Last year at this time, the temperature was 81 degrees.
In Las Vegas, triple-digit heat of 112 degrees Saturday afternoon broke the previous high of 111 degrees set on June 8, 1955. On Monday, temperatures in Sin City are expected to return to about 100 degrees for the rest of the week.
Meanwhile, there is a possibility of thunderstorms and showers for much of the country Sunday - from the Central Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes - with areas between Illinois and Arkansas to get the worst of it, NBC Meteorologist Dylan Dryer said.
“Isolated tornadoes are possible but not widespread,” Dryer said. She said the bigger threat is for brief damaging wind gusts and hail.
On the East Coast, more showers and thunderstorms are possible through late Monday afternoon. By Thursday, Dryer said the sun should be out and temperatures will warm up the mid-to-upper 70s.
For a fourth straight day, a California fire burned wild and fast as firefighters moved in to contain it. However, calmer winds and lower temperatures helped to contain the largest fire by more than 50 percent. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
By The Associated Press
CAMARILLO, Calif. - A flow of damp air from the Pacific Ocean helped firefighters in their battle against a huge wildfire burning through coastal mountains in Southern California.
Fire crews on Saturday worked to create miles of containment lines as the high winds and hot, dry air of recent days were replaced by the normal Pacific air, significantly reducing fire activity.
The 43-square-mile blaze at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains was 56 percent surrounded. The progress made led authorities to lift evacuation orders for residences in several areas.
"The fire isn't really running and gunning," said Tom Kruschke, a Ventura County Fire Department spokesman.
The humidity level rose so much that an overnight effort to burn away fuel at one section of the fire did not work well, Kruschke said.
There was more good news for Sunday. The National Weather Service said an approaching low pressure system would bring a 20 percent chance of showers in the afternoon, with the likelihood increasing into the night and on Monday.
"Anything we get is going to help us," Kruschke said.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters using engines, bulldozers and aircraft worked to corral the blaze.
Firefighting efforts were focused on the fire's east side, rugged canyons that are a mix of public and private lands, Kruschke said.
David Mcnew / Getty Images
A firefighter surveys burned hills near Hidden Valley at the Springs fire on Saturday near Camarillo, California.
The change in the weather was also expected to bring gusty winds to some parts of Southern California, but well away from the fire area.
Despite its size and speed of growth, the fire that broke out Thursday and quickly moved through neighborhoods of Camarillo Springs and Thousand Oaks has caused damage to just 15 homes, though it has threatened thousands.
The fire also swept through Point Mugu State Park, a hiking and camping area that sprawls between those communities and the ocean. Park district Superintendent Craig Sap told the Ventura County Star that two old, unused ranch-style homes in the backcountry burned. Restrooms and campgrounds also were damaged. Sap estimated repairs would cost $225,000.
The only injuries as of Saturday were a civilian and a firefighter involved in a traffic accident away from the fire.
Residents were grateful so many homes were spared.
"It came pretty close. All of these houses — these firemen did a tremendous job. Very, very thankful for them," Shayne Poindexter said. Flames came within 30 feet of the house he was building.
Over 28,000 acres have been burned in southern California, and officials say the fire is at 20 percent containment. Officials are hoping to get a lucky break to fight the fires. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
On Friday, the wildfire reached the ocean, jumped Pacific Coast Highway and burned a Navy base rifle range on the beach at Point Mugu. When winds reversed direction from offshore to onshore, the fire stormed back up canyons toward inland neighborhoods.
The blaze is one of more than 680 wildfires in the state so far this year — about 200 more than average.
East of Los Angeles in Riverside County, a new fire that broke out Saturday afternoon burned 650 acres of wilderness south of Banning. It was 20 percent contained. Banning has been flanked by a nearly 5-square-mile fire to the north which destroyed one home shortly after it broke out Wednesday. That fire was fully contained late Saturday.
In Northern California, a fire that has blackened more than 10 square miles of wilderness in Tehama County was a threat to 10 unoccupied summer homes near the community of Butte Meadows, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Thunderstorms Saturday were expected to bring erratic winds but little rain to the area about 200 miles north of San Francisco.
Nearly 1,300 firefighters were on the lines and the blaze, which started Wednesday, was 20 percent contained.
In this Thursday, July 21, 2011 photo, Patrick Nelson wipes the sweat from his face while working on a project for Huntington Community Gardens as temperatures reach over 90 degrees in Huntington, W. Va.
By Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters
WASHINGTON — Earth's increasingly hot, wet climate has cut the amount of work people can do in the worst heat by about 10 percent in the past six decades, and that loss in labor capacity could double by mid-century, U.S. government scientists reported on Sunday.
Because warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air, there's more absolute humidity in the atmosphere now than there used to be. And as anyone who has sweltered through a hot, muggy summer knows, it's more stressful to work through hot months when the humidity is high.
To figure out the stress of working in hotter, wetter conditions, experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looked at military and industrial guidelines already in place for heat stress, and set those guidelines against climate projections for how hot and humid it's likely to get over the next century.
Their findings were stark: "We project that heat stress-related labor capacity losses will double globally by 2050 with a warming climate," said lead author John Dunne of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton.
Work capability is already down to 90 percent during the most hot and humid periods, Dunne and his co-authors wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change. Using a middle-of-the-road projection of future temperature and humidity, they estimate that could drop to 80 percent by 2050.
A more extreme scenario of future global warming, which estimated a temperature rise of 10.8 degrees F, would make it difficult to work in the hottest months in many parts of the world, Dunne said at a telephone briefing.
Labor capacity would be all but eliminated in the lower Mississippi Valley and most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains would be exposed to heat stress "beyond anything experienced in the world today," he said.
Under this scenario, heat stress in New York City would exceed that of present-day Bahrain, while in Bahrain, the heat and humidity could cause hyperthermia - potentially dangerous overheating - even in sleeping people who were not working at all.
Humans are endothermic creatures, which means they give off heat. If they can't get rid of it faster than they create it, they go into hyperthermia. Typically, humans cool off by doing less heat-producing activity, but it may get so hot and humid that even a sleeping person wouldn't be able to dissipate heat fast enough.
"This planet will start experiencing heat stress that's unlike anything experienced today," said Ronald Stouffer, a co-author of the study.
The only way to retain labor capacity, Dunne said, is to limit global warming to less than 5 degrees F.
Global average temperature has risen by about 1.2 degrees F compared to pre-industrial times. It is likely to rise another 1.8 degrees F by mid-century, Dunne said.
The way some workers already adapt to heat stress - taking a siesta during the hottest hours of the day, working outdoor jobs like construction at night when temperatures drop or ceasing work entirely during periods of peak heat and humidity — could migrate to places where heat stress is increasing.
The U.S. West Coast and Northern Europe are likely to be two of the regions that will be affected last by the trend toward more hot and humid climate, the scientists said.
Part of the issue is how well-adapted certain regions are to extreme heat stress, Dunne said.
As an example, he noted that some 70,000 people were killed during a disastrous 2003 heat wave in Europe, where heat stress was highly unusual. However, the same kind of stress was normal for a place like India, where a similar heat wave killed 3,000.
"It's very regionally dependent and highly determined by adaptation," Dunne said.
California's Death Valley is known for its heat, and now it will be known as home to the hottest place on Earth.
By Miguel Llanos, NBC News
Nearly a century after the fact, California's Death Valley on Thursday was recognized as having posted the hottest temperature on Earth — replacing Libya, which experts now say was a case of overcooked data.
A reading of 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit had been claimed at a Libyan outpost on Sept. 13, 1922. That stood as the record until Thursday's announcement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that a panel of experts had concluded otherwise.
As a result, the WMO now recognizes 134 degrees F (56.7 degrees Celsius) as the highest surface temperature ever recorded. The measurement came from Death Valley, Calif., on July 10, 1913.
In a study published Thursday, the experts said they had "identified five major concerns" with the Libya data, starting with "potentially problematic instrumentation" — in other words, an unreliable thermometer.
"Several experts informed the committee that this type of thermometer was more frequently used in private households rather than as official recording instruments," the group reported.
The "Bellani-Six thermometer" was already obsolete at the time and had a pointer that could easily be misread, introducing an error of as much as 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit, they noted.
Other concerns included a likely "inexperienced observer" who repeatedly entered temperatures on the wrong side of the log.
The reading was probably also taken at "an observation site over an asphalt-like material which was not representative of the native desert soil," the WMO said in a statement.
The new record does raise an obvious question: Was the Death Valley data any more reliable?
"That record was investigated pretty thoroughly by Dr. Arnold Court, a meteorology professor from California, back in the 1940s and determined to be valid," Randy Cerveny, an Arizona State University professor who was on the Libya committee, told NBC News.
Aug. 7, 2006: KSL-TV's John Hollenhorst introduces us to a man who lives in a very remote area of Death Valley.
Court determined the reading was "taken with good instruments by a trained weather observer," Cerveny added. "At this time, unless new evidence comes out, we will accept the record."