The number of fatalities is beginning to climb as a heat wave swamps the country. Power-starved Japan is hurting, too.
- Have you noticed that it's hot? (NOAA)
The D.C. fire and emergency department is reporting a "moderate to heavy" call volume for mostly heat-related medical issues, and the real heat hasn't even gotten here yet. So what's it like in places of the U.S. that are really boiling today?
Pretty bad, it seems. The National Weather Service stated yesterday that 13 deaths this past week in the Midwest can be tied to the heat wave traveling at this moment toward the East Coast. But the real number is probably higher. In Kansas City alone, health officials have logged 10 suspected heat-related deaths. In Witchita, Kan., a 65-year-old man died while mowing his lawn; his internal body temperature was 107 degrees.
It's not just the U.S. that's sweating, either; in Japan, some people are blaming a blossoming of 35 heat deaths since June to the government's polite request that people use their ACs less to conserve power. (After the Fukushima disaster, about a third of Japan's nuke plants are not running.) The number of Japanese traveling to hospitals for heatstroke is triple the amount of June 2010.
In other heat-misery news, CNN reports that Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay had to leave yesterday's ballgame in Chicago during the fifth inning with "his face beet-red and his jersey soaked" (the heat index was above 100 degrees):
"You could tell the heat was getting to him a little bit," said Phillies' pitching coach Rich Dubee, in an article on the team's website. "I talked to him after the fourth, and he said he was somewhat lightheaded, but he wanted to go back out there. Of course, he went out there in the fifth and just had a tough time staying focused and seeing the signs."
When it's not actively killing people, the merciless sun is just being bothersome by screwing with the U.S. transportation infrastructure. Days of white-hot weather are mutilating roadways throughout the Midwest. A hole suddenly developed in a highway bridge in Tulsa, and in Oklahoma City (which has had temperatures above 100 degrees for nearly a month now) an interstate was closed due to swollen bridge joints that damaged cars. Then there's this painful report from Enid:
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.