From: Karen Brooks, Reuters, HOUSTON
Published August 7, 2011 08:06 AM

US South deep in heat, unrelenting drought

The southern United States stood mired on Saturday in an unrelenting heat wave that promised more of the triple-digit temperatures that have roasted the region for weeks.

Forecasters predicted the heat and dryness will continue in the area at least through next week, though they looked for remnants of former tropical storm Emily to bring some rain to coastal Florida on Saturday night.


Heat advisories across much of the South and Central Plains were common Saturday and cut into the Midwest. Temperatures across the Missouri Ozarks and parts of Kansas reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.

In the Northeast, extreme heat was easing with temperatures expected to dip into the low 70s in Trenton, New Jersey to give residents an escape from what forecasters called a "heat bubble" that had blistered the area in July.

But in the hot, dry South, the heat raged and temperatures hit 109 degrees in places like Oklahoma City, where the weather service warned residents to take precautions when outdoors.

James Trent, 54, a self-employed service technician in Moore, Oklahoma, said oppressive heat has changed the way many Oklahomans go about the work day. His work van's air conditioner broke down a few days ago, he said.

"Anybody who's got to work outdoors has to start by 6 a.m.," he said. "Then you've got to be done by 12. Almost all outdoor work is over by noon."

Danny Matthews, a truck driver, said he recently saw a dozen cattle carcasses by the highway in western Oklahoma.

A rancher told him the cattle had gone so long without water that when they finally had access to it, they drank themselves to death.

"It's sad," Matthews said. "It's real crazy. It's either sell 'em off, or let 'em die."

Photo shows the dried south fork of Lake Arlington near Bowman Springs Park, where park personnel indicated the water level was nine feet below normal, in Arlington, Texas August 5, 2011.

Credit: REUTERS/Mike Stone

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