Entries in Heat (22)


Eight Children Died in August After Being Left in Hot Cars

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Parents' leaving their kids in the backseat of cars during the sweltering days of summer has become an all-too-familiar scene in the United States.

Twenty-three children have died of hyperthermia in cars in 14 states this year alone, and eight of the deaths occurred in the first week of August.  Nearly 40 children die this way each year, according to Kids and Cars.

The latest death was Aug. 7 when, police say, Stephanie Gray, 38, forgot to drop off her five-month-old son, Joel, at a church day care in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Instead, Gray dropped off her 11-year-old at school and returned home, leaving Joel in the backseat of the minivan, according to ABC News affiliate KLTV.

When Gray arrived at daycare around 2:30 p.m., she was told Joel was never dropped off, according to police.

"She was informed that her son was not there," police representative Kris Mumford told KLTV.  "She ran to her minivan, found her 5-month-old child inside the van and she carried her child into the day care.  It's believed he died in the van from the heat."

Police said that no charges have been filed.

video platform video management video solutions video player

The temperature inside a car can increase 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Children are especially at risk because they can't handle extreme heat the way adults can.

"Kids heat up three to five times faster than adults," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.

In response to these incidents, the departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services is launching a nationwide campaign on Friday to crack down on kids being left in hot cars.

Called "Where's baby? Look before you lock," the program asks the departments of head start and also day care units across the country to distribute safety tips -- like when you leave your car, make sure you have something important in the backseat like your keys, cellphone or purse so you can't forget them or your child.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


It's a Cruel Summer but Maybe Not the Cruelest

Burke/Triolo Productions/Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you're old enough to remember when Harry Truman was president, you're probably all too aware that this has been one of the hottest summers of your life.

Whether it will make the top three hottest summers since 1950 won't be determined until we get through August and meteorologists have gathered all the data for the three months that make up the season.

While much of the country has been baking in above-average temperatures for most of June and July, a report that this month broke the all-time record set in 1936 is inaccurate, according to Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

In an email to LiveScience, Crouch said the interpretation of weather data used was incorrect.  However, he did acknowledge that this has been a warmer than usual July.

Yet, as much as people complain about high temps and the humidity, what hasn't happened is the expansion of the core of heat in the country's midsection to the rest of the U.S.  Heat waves haven't been sustained even after making it to the Northeast and parts of the Southeast.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Mom Charged with Leaving Baby in Hot Car

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A San Diego mother, arrested for leaving her 4-month-old daughter in a car while shopping, was released from custody this week after posting bail.

On Tuesday at 3:10 p.m., police said a maintenance worker noticed a child locked in a sedan with the windows rolled up and called 911.  The National City police and fire departments immediately arrived at the scene -- a parking lot in front of a clothing store in a strip mall on East Plaza Boulevard.

A police officer and a witness forced open a rear window to retrieve the child, who was unresponsive and covered in sweat, National City Police Sgt. Julian Villagomez said.

According to Villagomez, the 25-year-old mother, Starley Geart, left the store moments later.  She appeared to be confused.  Although Geart claimed to have been in the store for a minute, surveillance tapes show Geart in the store for approximately nine minutes.

Firefighters subsequently locked the car for 10 minutes and measured the temperature at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, Villagomez said.

"We all need to be very careful," he said.  "Here in California we have beautiful weather… it was 75 degrees but that temperature can nearly double in a locked car in minutes.  We need to be very careful and not leave kids or pets unattended."

According to Villagomez, Geart was arrested for felony child endangerment and booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility, while her daughter was taken to Rady Children's Hospital.  The child was released and placed in protective custody.  Since the victim is a minor, neither Rady Children's Hospital nor San Diego County Child Welfare Services could comment on the specifics of the case.

Geart was released Wednesday after posting bail.  Her arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 1.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Sets New Records for Warmth

Burke/Triolo Productions/Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For those looking for evidence of global warming, look no further than a new government report that says the past six months were the warmest January-through-June period for the U.S. since record keeping began in 1895.

The report says the past 12 months were also the warmest such period since 1895.  Every state in the lower 48 had warmer-than-average temperatures during the period from July 2011 to June 2012, except for Washington, which had temperatures near normal.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report shows that at the end of June, 56 percent of the country was experiencing drought conditions.

The agency report says 2012 also gave us the warmest spring on record, and marked the first time that all three months of spring -- March, April and May -- ranked among the 10 warmest since 1895.

NOAA scientists say the average daily temperature for this past June in the lower 48 states was a full two degrees above the 20th-century average.

Better grab that sunscreen.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Triple-Digit Temperatures and Power Outages Continue

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Residents of the Windy City probably wish they had a breeze to help them cope with the searing heat that has been scorching Chicago lately.  

The mercury hit a record 103 degrees on Thursday -- the second straight day of triple-digit temps -- and forecasters are predicting another 103 degrees on Friday.  If that happens, it will be only the third three-day heat wave of 100-degree temperatures in Chicago since record-keeping began in the 19th century.

Chicago has now endured six consecutive days of over 90 degrees, a heat wave that has forced the closing of summer school classes and contributed to two deaths.

The city’s medical examiner’s office says autopsies performed on Thursday show heat stress contributed to the deaths of a 48-year-old man and a 56-year-old man.

There were heat advisories in 23 states on Thursday, and in many of those states, residents were forced to deal with both high temperatures and continued power outages.

Power is coming back slowly for folks in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, following last week’s violent thunderstorms, but utility companies in Michigan, West Virginia and Ohio say there are more than 600,000 homes and businesses still in the dark and without AC.

Severe thunderstorms swept across eastern Tennessee Thursday night.  Officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park say at least two people were killed by the violent weather.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Extreme Heat: Parts of US Brace for July 4th Scorcher

Burke/Triolo Productions/Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This Fourth of July could very well be the hottest Independence Day ever for many parts of the country.

And if you thought it felt warmer out there Tuesday, there's good reason. Humidity levels were high across the country; combine that with high temperatures and you get the heat index -- what it actually feels like outside -- hitting 100 degrees and above across much of the nation.

In parts of West Virginia, folks found themselves desperate for ice and water. In parts of Illinois, there were long lines to buy generators. And in Wisconsin this weekend, the oven-like heat caused the pavement to expand and the road to buckle -- creating a ramp that actually launched an SUV into midair.

Across much of the country again Tuesday, temperatures pushed well into and past the 90s. It was 101 degrees in Raleigh, N.C. In St. Louis, temperatures reached 100 degrees. The cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Memphis, Tenn., and Kansas City, Mo., are on track to have their hottest Fourth of Julys ever.

And the extreme heat is making the extreme drought even worse. Last year at this time one-third of the nation was experiencing drought. This year, three-quarters of the country is parched, conditions that are playing a major role in the epic wildfires out west.

Back east, more than one million homes in seven states were still without power Tuesday night – the region, still reeling from last weekend's violent storms. Many of those without power could remain in the dark for the rest of this week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


March’s Heat Melts Records

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You likely felt it, but now it’s official that March 2012 was the warmest March on record for the lower 48 states, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The average temperature of 51.1 degrees Fahrenheit broke the previous record set in 1910 by 0.5 degrees, and was 8.6 degrees above average.

According to NOAA’s preliminary data, more than 15,200 record-high temperatures were set for March, and all 50 states broke at least one record.

March wasn’t the only month that brought the heat. The average temperature of the contiguous United States for the first three months of 2012 was six degrees above normal, NOAA announced.

The period from January through March for 2012 broke the previous first-quarter record by 1.4 degrees. Weather records are normally beaten by tenths of a degree.

While the warm temperatures made winter more tolerable, it worried scientists.

“Everybody has this uneasy feeling. This is weird. This is not good,” said Jerry Meehl, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “It’s a guilty pleasure. You’re out enjoying this nice March weather, but you know it’s not a good thing.”

The warm weather created favorable conditions for tornadoes, and according to NOAA there were 223 preliminary tornado reports this March compared to an annual average of 80.

While individual events cannot be cited as examples of climate change, climate scientists said extreme temperatures and weather events will become more frequent as a result of man-made climate change.

Although North America experienced an abnormally warm winter, NOAA meteorologist Martin Hoerling said it is something the rest of the Northern Hemisphere did not.

Alaska’s March ranked as its tenth-coolest on record, and its average first-quarter temperature was its ninth coldest, 5.2 degrees below average.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Heat Wave Sweeps US; NOAA Says Spring Flood Risk Low

NOAA(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time in four years, there is no major flood risk warning in effect for any part of the United States, according to NOAA’s annual Spring Outlook.

“The U.S. is getting a much needed spring break,” said Laura Furgione, deputy director of the National Weather Service, part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.  “What a difference a year makes.”

Spring officially begins next Tuesday, and is proving to be very different from the record spring flooding the country saw in 2011. Most of the country is at normal or below-normal risk for floods this year, according to NOAA’s forecast of the flood potential from April to June.

Last year, almost half the country had an above average risk of flooding,” Furgione said at NOAA’s teleconference Thursday afternoon. “That is a stark contrast to this year.”

The only areas with above-normal flood risks are the Ohio River Valley and parts of the Gulf Coast, though Furgione said, “Heavy rainfall can lead to flooding at any time.”

Forecasters say drought conditions will persist through spring across the southern and southwestern parts of the U.S.

“This is the fifty-first consecutive week where at least two-thirds of Texas have been at risk for severe, extreme or exceptional drought,” said David Brown, director of Southern Region Climate Services.

As the peak of wildfire season approaches, drought conditions are concerning for parts of the country that sustained heavy losses last year, particularly Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. But drought situations have also emerged in the Southeast. More than three-fourths of Georgia face severe drought conditions. If the droughts persist, Brown said, it could result in an active wildfire season.

NOAA summed up the 2012 drought situation at the teleconference as “more less severe droughts [compared to 2011], but less more extreme droughts.”

Another hot topic right now is the rising heat index across the country. The famous cherry blossoms in the nation’s capital will be in peak bloom more than two weeks ahead of schedule this year, and farmers around the country are gearing up for the unseasonably warm temperatures. On Wednesday alone, 400 new record highs were recorded, in addition to 177 low temperatures that were warmer than any on record for those locations on a March 14.  That made for a total of 577 new warmth records from Florida to Wisconsin.

NOAA managers said they cannot say for certain if the rising heat index is connected to global climate change.

“Extreme events like the ones that we’re seeing are consistent with the notion that the climate is changing towards warmer, and obviously when records are broken that’s an unprecedented event, but without a lot of research and study it’s impossible to connect any single event with climate change,” said Ed O’Lenic, chief of the operations branch at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The monthly forecast calls for a continuation of above-normal temperatures for at least the rest of the month, and the Southwest, South and Eastern United States should prepare for an even hotter summer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NASA: 2011 the Ninth-Warmest Year Since 1880

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Last year was the ninth-warmest year on Earth since 1880, continuing a trend “in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000,” NASA scientists said Thursday.

"We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting," said James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Nina influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record."


NASA says 2011 was 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2010, the warmest year on GISS' record.

“Higher temperatures today are largely sustained by increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide,” NASA said in a news release. “These gases absorb infrared radiation emitted by Earth and release that energy into the atmosphere rather than allowing it to escape to space. As their atmospheric concentration has increased, the amount of energy ‘trapped’ by these gases has led to higher temperatures.”

Scientists and politicians alike have long debated whether or not global warming actually exists, and the degree to which increasing temperatures could affect human life.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Air Conditioner Thefts Leave Residents Boiling

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- As if the heat wave wasn’t bad enough, there have been reports of a worsening problem of stolen air conditioning units in Texas.

This is part of an ongoing problem. These thieves are stealing the copper and other metals, and selling them to make a quick buck. But with a heat wave like this one, stolen air-conditioners are certainly not going unnoticed and are beyond unbearable for many.

Ten units from Chisholm Baptist Church in Rockwall were stolen last week. Someone pilfered the air conditioners, leaving only pipes sticking out of brick walls and congregants sweating through Sunday service.

Authorities say air conditioner thefts are on the rise.

Paula More, a Rylie resident, says she felt “violated” when she came home to check the thermostat, and discovered her AC unit outside was gone.  Her new unit cost her $2,200, and is now protected by a cage.

The consequences can be dire. Last month, Dolores Grissom was found dead of heat-related causes, two days after her air conditioner was stolen.

In Dallas, all thefts involving metal are assigned to a three-detective metal theft squad. The unit handles about 15 to 22 offenses a day, most involving air conditioning units.

And thieves have also been known to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage just to steal a few hundred dollars’ worth of copper.

When the First Evangelist Church of God in Christ in Pleasant Grove, Texas wouldn’t cool down, congregants discovered their air conditioner was in pieces because all the copper had been removed.

Authorities have been upping the stakes in the battle against copper thefts for years. Dallas enacted an ordinance to make it more difficult for metal thieves to sell their wares at scrap yards in 2008.

A new state law going into effect Sept. 1 will require scrap dealers to create detailed records of their purchases, including the collection of sellers’ thumbprints and video or photos of the seller.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio