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U.S. Heat Wave 2012: Midwest To East Coast Temperatures Cool Slightly

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HEAT WAVE 2012
Brian Frandsen pours water over his head in an effort to cool off while building a cement block wall on Saturday, July 7, 2012 in Huntsville, Ala. (AP Photo/The Huntsville Times, Dave Dieter) | AP

NEW YORK — The heat that blanketed much of the U.S. will begin easing up this week as temperatures approach normal from the Midwest to the East Coast.

Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Camp Springs, Md., said Sunday night that a cold front through the South and the mid-Atlantic will bring thunderstorms and showers.

It "will break the heat wave we've had," he said, dropping temperatures there to a more normal range of mid- to upper-80s. The Southeast and Tennessee Valley will be in the low 90s, "still fairly warm," Orrison said, but not as hot as it has been.

The Midwest can expect cooler weather, as well, with temperatures in the 80s.

The cooler air began sweeping southward Sunday in the eastern half of the country, bringing down some temperatures by 15 or more degrees from Saturday's highs, which topped 100 in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky.

The heat of the past several days has been blamed for at least 46 deaths across the country.

In Chicago, the Cook County medical examiner's office determined Sunday that eight more people died from heat-related causes, adding to the 10 deaths previously confirmed Saturday. The deaths included a 100-year-old woman, 65-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man, a 46-year-old woman and an unidentified man believed to be about 30 years old.

In Tennessee, the third heat-related death of the year was a 62-year-old woman found dead in her home. She had a working air conditioner, but it was not turned on.

Deaths have also been reported by authorities in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

To stay cool, Americans tried familiar solutions – dipping into the pool, going to the movies and riding subways just to be in air conditioning.

Gregory Englebach relaxed on a bench Sunday evening near the Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia where he'd worked all day, enjoying temperature that had dipped below 90 degrees.

It's the humidity that gets me," said the 24-year-old Englebach. He said he thinks his electric bill has already gone up by $30 or $30 because of his increased use of electricity at home. But he's resigned to it: "It's air conditioning or I can't sleep at night," he said.

It was a steamy 80-plus degrees in New York City on Sunday night. Some visitors to the city said they'd spent much of the weekend shopping in air-conditioned stores rather than exploring Central Park as they had planned.

"But that's OK, shopping is always good in New York," said Linda Boteach of Baltimore, waiting to board a bus that was spewing exhaust into the already hot night.

"It was worse in Baltimore," Boteach said. "It's all relative."

___

Zongker reported from Washington and Matthews reported from New York. Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik in New York, Ed Donahue in Alexandria, Va., Steve Szkotak in Richmond, Va., Mike Householder in Detroit, Carla K. Johnson in Chicago, Ron Todt in Philadelphia and Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., contributed to this report.

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