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Parts Of U.S. Still Gripping With Record Heat

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

So here's a list of cities: Beirut, Rome, Cairo, Kabul, New Delhi, Miami, Washington, D.C. Which city do you think is the hottest one today? You probably guessed it. It's right here in Washington - 105 degrees today. It is so hot that at the biggest construction site here in downtown, the crew was sent home early this morning, and very few people are walking around outside.

But there are other places sweltering across America today, like Bloomington, Indiana, just south of Indianapolis. It reached 104 degrees there. And so how are people coping? Well, here's reporter Sara Wittmeyer from member station WFIU with more.

SARA WITTMEYER, BYLINE: The heat drew people to a pool like moths to a flame this morning in Bloomington. Pool manager Kayla Zora has been working here for eight years but says that still didn't prepare her for this heat wave.

KAYLA ZORA: Drink a lot of water and get in the water about every 20 minutes. And it doesn't really help. The water was 91 degrees yesterday when we closed.

WITTMEYER: The Associated Press reports more than 30 deaths across the country are being blamed on the heat wave that's choking the Midwest, part of the mid-Atlantic and the Southeast. Tens of thousands of people are still without power. In Milwaukee, cows are reportedly suffering from heat stroke, and Illinois is warning motorists about buckling roads.

In Indiana, residents are wilting from another day of temperatures stuck in the triple digits. East of Bloomington, the Bartholomew County Fair is starting late today when the sun won't be as hot. It was 100 degrees there last night at 8:30. One lone rider went round and round on the Ferris wheel. The carnies seemed to lack the energy to even entice passersby to come play their games. Most people were gathered in one place.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: You want vanilla or chocolate or twist?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Vanilla.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Vanilla.

WITTMEYER: Danny Thornburg owns the Pineapple Whip Ice Cream stand. It seems like you all are the most popular people here.

(LAUGHTER)

DANNY THORNBURG: Well...

WITTMEYER: And the guys with the ice cream?

DANNY THORNBURG: Well, if it's going to stay hot like this, it ain't too bad.

WITTMEYER: Good for business, right?

DANNY THORNBERG: Yes, it is.

WITTMEYER: Rosemary Scirroto owns Cinnamon City, a food trailer positioned right behind the grandstands. Her face is beading with sweat, and her pink shirt is dark with moisture.

ROSEMARY SCIRROTO: And we do have an air-condition, but as you can see, I just keep throwing ice down my shirt.

WITTMEYER: Scirroto is from Cape Coral, Florida, where it's actually cooler than it is here. The hottest place in the country this past week was a small town in Kansas. Nicky Hilbert is the director of emergency services in Hill City.

NICKY HILBERT: Well, I would rather be known for the cold spot right now, but, you know, I'd rather give that title up to anybody else who would take it. But, you know, that goes with where we live.

WITTMEYER: As far as the distinction of the hottest place, to Hilbert's satisfaction, Hill City has been replaced. According to the National Weather Service, Paducah, Kentucky, is the hot spot at 107 degrees. For NPR News, I'm Sara Wittmeyer in Bloomington, Indiana. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.