Another heat wave gathering steam; death toll at 9

Infrared map of the United States for July 12, 2012
Infrared map of the United States for July 12, 2012 (NOAA)
Posted: July 13, 2012

With yet another heat wave under way, the region's heat-related death toll has climbed to nine.

Heat has been blamed for the deaths of five Philadelphians during the hot spell that ended on Tuesday - and we use the term "ended" with reservations - the city Health Department spokesman Jeff Moran said this afternoon.

The most recently reported deaths were those of an 80 year old woman in the Nicetown-Tioga section of the city, and a 78-year-old in Southwest Philadelphia. Both had background heart conditions. No other details were available.

As reported earlier, the body of a 70-year-old man was found in Mount Airy on July 1, and a 62-year-old, in the Northeast, and a 53-year-old Southwest Philadelphian, were found on Friday.

The 12 consecutive days of 90 or better temperatures in Philadelphia that began on June 28 tied for the fourth-longest heat wave in the period of record, dating to 1874.

Earlier heat contributed to the deaths of three other Philadelphians and a Montgomery County man.

The temperature reached 90 today for the 14th time in 15 days, a streak broken only by the relatively frigid 89 reported on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for several day of 90 or better temperatures, and this time around it might be steamier.

The weekend is clouded with thunderstorm possibilities, but the rapidly browning grasses probably wouldn't mind a dousing or two.

So far this month, Philadelphia has had only 0.03 inches of rain, and each of the last six months has ended with below-normal rainfall.

Then, again, we have company. About 80 percent of the contiguous United States is in some state of drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported today.

Contact Anthony R. Wood at 610-313-8210 or

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