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Sweltering Heat, Storms, and Wildfire Threats Grip Southern US

Heat Advisories and Power Outages Amid Father’s Day Weekend

As Father’s Day celebrations unfolded across the southern United States, forecasters issued heat advisories, urging caution and heat safety measures due to the scorching temperatures. The intense heat triggered thunderstorms that resulted in power outages from Oklahoma to Mississippi, while strong winds whipped up wildfire threats in Arizona and New Mexico. A suspected tornado in Scranton, Arkansas, caused destruction, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

Record-Breaking Temperatures and Severe Weather Continue

Meteorologists predicted that dangerous temperatures, possibly breaking records, would persist into the middle of the week across southern Texas and the Gulf Coast. Additionally, the lower Mississippi Valley faced the potential of storms producing damaging winds, hail, and tornadoes. The National Weather Service in Houston reminded people to prioritize heat safety, encouraging frequent breaks, hydration, and never leaving people or pets alone in cars.

State of Emergency and Power Outages

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the northern and central parts of the state following severe weather and strong winds that caused widespread power outages. As of Sunday evening, more than 515,000 people in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi were without electricity, according to PowerOutage.us.

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Seeking Relief and Coping with Heat

Catherine Haley, a resident of Shreveport, Louisiana, had to find ways to stay cool after the storm knocked out power in her neighborhood. Haley, who has breathing difficulties, and her six grandchildren sought refuge at a cooling center established by the city. The extreme heat took a toll on the family, highlighting the importance of such facilities in providing relief during such conditions.

Heat Advisory in Florida and Fire Threat in the Southwest

Florida faced another heat advisory, particularly in the Florida Keys, with heat index readings projected to reach between 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius) and 112 degrees (45 C). These conditions pose an increased risk of heat-related illnesses for those outdoors or in non-air conditioned spaces. Meanwhile, the Southwest battled multiple wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico, with triple-digit temperatures and gusty winds creating critical fire weather conditions.

Impact on Local Businesses and High-Wind Advisory

The wildfires in Arizona, including one that led to the closure of Arizona Highway 83, affected local businesses during what is typically a busy Father’s Day weekend in the area. The closure of the highway hindered access to recreational lakes and reservoirs. In Nevada, a high-wind advisory was issued, with gusts of up to 55 mph (88 kph) and blowing dust, which could hamper visibility on highways.

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