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Entries in July Fourth (3)

Tuesday
Jul032012

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

Tuesday
Jul032012

Fourth of July Fireworks Spark Wildfire Fears

John White Photos/Flickr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In Colorado Springs, Colo., entire neighborhoods have been reduced to apocalyptic landscapes in the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.  About 350 homes have been destroyed, but many more have been saved, thanks to crews battling the flames.

“They were eating smoke and fire, enduring so much brutal heat, but they saved this neighborhood,” said Steve Schoepper, a Colorado Springs firefighter.

Firefighters were on the ground again Tuesday and were getting help from the air. The massive C-130s have rejoined the fire fight after one that was battling a blaze in South Dakota crashed on Sunday, killing four.

Now the fear of new fires has led to communities in at least 20 states banning fireworks displays this July 4 because of tinder-dry conditions.

Indiana is one of the states where police will be watching the skies.

“It’s pretty much going to be a cat and mouse game, especially once the word get out that it could be a $2,500 fine or a B misdemeanor,” said Zachary Dalton of the Beech Grove Police Department.

One study found fireworks caused more than 15,500 blazes and $36 million in property damage in 2010. Firefighters say leaving the fireworks to the professionals is the best way to insure the only “bombs bursting” really are in air.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul032012

Shark Sighting Off San Diego Coast Closes Beach

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- It was a scene out of the movie Jaws Monday  as beach-goers spotted a 14-foot great white shark about 50 yards off the San Diego coast, prompting the  popular swimming beach  to close.

San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Greg Buchanan told ABC News the shark was seen Monday around 3 p.m. by eight onlookers, who noticed a dorsal fin poking above the water’s surface.

“We immediately closed the beach and searched throughout the night through sunset for the shark, but saw nothing else,” Buchanan said.

No further sightings of the great white shark had been reported as of Tuesday morning, he said.

Buchanan said sharks were common in the area, and that swimmers should always be cautious while in the water.

The La Jolla Shores in San Diego has since reopened to swimmers and surfers in time for the Fourth of July holiday.

Large crowds are expected to visit the beach for the holiday Wednesday, but Buchanan said that it would be “business as usual.”

“We always increase our lifeguards by 25 percent for the holiday itself,” he said. “Due to the activity and the crowds, basically we will try to be there and ready to deploy with any speed if there’s another sighting.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio