NATIONAL NEWS

Millions swelter as temperatures soar across the US, while floodwaters inundate the Midwest

Jun 23, 2024, 8:05 AM | Updated: 5:12 pm

Millions of Americans sweated through yet another scorching day as temperatures soared Sunday across the U.S., while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest, including in an Iowa town where the flood gauge was submerged. One person was killed during flooding in South Dakota, the governor said.

From the mid-Atlantic to Maine, across the Great Lakes region, and throughout the West to California, public officials cautioned residents about the dangers of excessive heat and humidity. In Oklahoma, the heat index — what the temperature feels like to the human body — was expected to reach 107 degrees (41 degrees Celsius) on Sunday.

In the Midwest where South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota meet, floodwaters rose through the weekend. In northwest Iowa, 13 rivers flooded the area, said Eric Tigges of Clay County emergency management. Entire neighborhoods — and at least one entire town — were evacuated, and the town of Spencer imposed a curfew Sunday for the second night in a row after flooding that surpassed the record set in 1953.

“When the flood gauge is underwater, it’s really high,” Tigges said in a news conference organized by Spencer officials.

Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a disaster for 21 counties in northern Iowa, including Sioux County. In drone video posted by the local sheriff, no streets were visible, just roofs and treetops poking above the water.

Reynolds told reporters Sunday that more than 1,000 displaced residents slept in shelters Saturday night. National Guard troops were helping with water rescues and transporting needed medications lost in flooding.

“Businesses are shuttered. Main streets have been impacted,” Reynolds said. “Hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities were evacuated. Cities are without power, and some are without drinkable water.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Donna Dubberke said parts of northern Nebraska, southeastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota and northwest Iowa received eight times the typical average rainfall. And more heavy rain was expected this week.

In South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem declared an emergency after severe flooding in the southeastern part. Several highways were closed.

Areas south of Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city, had an estimated 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) of rain over three days, National Weather Service hydrologist Kevin Low said.

At least one person died in the floods, Noem said Sunday, without providing details.

Several rivers, including the Big Sioux, James and Vermillion, were expected to peak sometime Monday through Wednesday night, the governor said at a news conference.

“I want to remind everybody to remember the power of water and the flow of water, and to stay away from flooded areas,” Noem said. “We’ve got a few days in front of us here that’ll be a little rough, but we’ll get through it.”

Emergency management officials in the small South Dakota community of Dakota Dunes on Sunday issued a voluntary evacuation order for the area’s roughly 4,000 residents. Dakota Dunes is near the Nebraska and Iowa borders and is sandwiched between the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers, both of which are expected to crest in the coming days. Emergency management in Dakota Dunes warned residents that a mandatory evacuation could come quickly if flood barriers are breached.

Little rainfall was forecast in coming days as high water continues working its way down the Missouri River, cresting at Sioux City, Iowa, overnight Sunday, at Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday, and at Nebraska City on Thursday, Low said.

Minor to moderate flooding was expected along the Missouri River, according to officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“As long as the levees hold, we’re not expecting any major impacts,” said John Remus, water management division chief for the corps in the Missouri River basin.

But elsewhere, the heat was the biggest worry.

“It’s more important for people who are going to be outside to stay hydrated, because heat, humidity and low winds, even if you’re in good shape and not really acclimated to it, it could be a danger, ” said Bruce Thoren, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Oklahoma. “It happens quickly.”

The cities of Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia all saw record heat on Saturday, with more high temperatures expected again Sunday.

Lamont Cousins, who owns the Ampersea restaurant on Baltimore’s waterfront, said business had been slow this weekend. The 40 outdoor dining seats at the restaurant, usually packed this time of year, were empty until around dinnertime Saturday.

“I think it’s affected us because people are staying home scared,” he said.

On Saturday, when he went to put umbrellas on the tables, it was already over 90 degrees. But Cousins said he’s not too worried about the lost business – and he expected Sunday would be better.

“Yesterday, it was nobody walking around. It’s hotter today, but there’s a breeze going. Yesterday, it just felt like I was being punished,” Cousins said.

Last year the U.S. experienced the most heat waves since 1936, experts said. An AP analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that excessive heat contributed to more than 2,300 deaths, the highest in 45 years of records.

The National Weather Service warned of the potential for rare tornadoes in the Northeast later Sunday. Tornadoes on Saturday struck in Wisconsin, leveling the historic Apple Grove Lutheran Church, founded in 1893 in the town of Argyle.

“The good news is we are all safe,” Dan Bohlman, pastor of Apple Grove Lutheran Church, said on the church website.

Marvin Boyd, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont, said a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of northern New York as a storm with wind gusts exceeding 60 mph (95 kph) and the threat of tornadoes head toward Vermont near Lake Champlain. It is one of several expected to pass through the region Sunday afternoon.

“It’s an unusual alignment of ingredients for Vermont and northern New York to produce a threat of tornadoes,” Boyd said.

___

Associated Press journalists Summer Ballentine in Columbia, Missouri; Leah Willingham in Charleston, West Virginia; Julie Walker in New York; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; and Michael Casey in Boston contributed reporting.

National News

FILE - This artist depiction shows Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, right, appea...

Associated Press

Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira to face a military court-martial, Air Force says

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira, who pleaded guilty in March to federal criminal charges for leaking highly classified military documents, will now face a military court-martial. Teixeira admitted to illegally collecting some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets and sharing them on the social media platform Discord. He is facing […]

29 minutes ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is seen during the Republica...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump accuse each other of weakening America’s foreign policy. Here are the facts

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a relative rarity for presidential elections, both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have long records on foreign policy and clearly stated positions on many of the world’s hot spots. Trump’s allies at the Republican National Convention are expected to argue that Biden has weakened America’s standing abroad and […]

33 minutes ago

FILE - Turbines operate at the Block Island Wind Farm, Dec. 7, 2023, off the coast of Block Island,...

Associated Press

Blade collapse, New York launch and New Jersey research show uneven progress of offshore wind

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Three events Wednesday highlighted the uneven progress of the offshore wind industry in the Northeast, including the start of a major project in New York, research aimed at preventing environmental damage in New Jersey, and a temporary shutdown of a wind farm in Massachusetts after a broken turbine blade washed […]

46 minutes ago

Associated Press

New York City councilwoman arrested for allegedly biting officer during protest, police say

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City councilwoman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly biting a police officer during a chaotic protest over the construction of a new homeless shelter in Brooklyn, police said. The councilwoman, Susan Zhuang, is being charged with assault, resisting arrest and obstruction, a police spokeswoman said. Zhuang’s office did not […]

47 minutes ago

FILE - A TV screen shows a file image of American soldier Travis King during a news program at the ...

Associated Press

Army private who fled to North Korea is in talks to resolve military charges, lawyer says

WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawyer for an Army private who fled to North Korea and was later charged with desertion and possessing sexual images of a child said Wednesday that he was in negotiations with military prosecutors to resolve the case against his client. Army Pvt. Travis King had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing […]

52 minutes ago

Associated Press

Mother of 3-year-old found dead at recycling center feared ex-husband would harm daughter

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The mother of a 3-year-old girl whose body was found in a San Francisco Bay Area recycling center over the weekend said Tuesday she feared for her daughter’s well-being whenever the child was with her ex-husband, who authorities said died by suicide and is suspected in the child’s death. San Jose […]

59 minutes ago

Millions swelter as temperatures soar across the US, while floodwaters inundate the Midwest