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Northeast U.S. braces for searing temperatures as heat wave spreads

NEW YORK – Americans living in the U.S. Northeast were bracing themselves for another day of searing temperatures, as the heat wave that has cooked the central and eastern parts of that country for days lingers on.

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for a huge section of the country, from Kansas to Maine, forecasting temperatures near or at 38 C Friday and into the weekend.

The high temperatures and smothering humidity will force up the heat indexes.

In New York, people looking to beat the heat were thwarted by warnings urging them to avoid city waterways after a wastewater treatment plant disabled by fire began spewing millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson River.

Officials cautioned against swimming and bathing at city beaches, especially for people with medical conditions.

Across the U.S., emergency room visits were way up, according to public health officials, mainly because of people suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The weather is suspected of contributing to a number of deaths nationwide. At least six more fatalities were reported Thursday, including a Michigan restaurant cook who suffered a heart attack after being sent home from his job and a teenage boy who drowned while swimming at summer camp in the same state.

A Pittsburgh man slipped as he worked on the roof of his cousin’s home on Thursday and found himself stuck for nearly two hours because of the hot tar he’d been using.

Lamont Robinson said the slick tar kept him from climbing to safety after he slipped. He said he was “baking like a turkey” before his rescue.

In Connecticut, a dozen Girl Scouts were treated for heat-related problems at a scout camp.

None of the girls required hospitalization, but New Fairfield First Selectman John Hodge says they spent Thursday night in the camp’s cafeteria after workers brought in industrial fans to help cool them off.

A blown electrical transformer in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale forced several senior citizens to sleep Wednesday night in the community room of their six-story apartment building after the power failed.

On Thursday morning, Lisa Blumentritt ventured back into her third-floor unit.

“You couldn’t breathe,” she said at a nearby cooling centre.

While the current heat wave has recorded 12 all-time daily highs so far this month, it also has registered 98 all-time overnight highs, the NOAA reported at a briefing Thursday.

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