High heat in Midwest and South

WASHINGTON Tue Aug 2, 2011 6:21pm EDT

Footprints mark the bank of a partially dried-up pond near downtown Dallas, Texas August 1, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp

Footprints mark the bank of a partially dried-up pond near downtown Dallas, Texas August 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Sharp

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Record-breaking heat continued to broil central and southern states on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Emily threatened to dampen the Southeast, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa and Arizona.

Heat advisories were issued for an additional seven surrounding states.

High temperatures Tuesday afternoon are expected to be 95 to 100 in most areas east of the Mississippi River, while highs of 85 to 95 are expected in the mountains, along the central and eastern Gulf Coast and in Florida, The Weather Channel's Kevin Roth said.

AccuWeather.com's Meghan Evans warned that Tropical Storm Emily may grow by the weekend.

"As the current forecast path stands, the heaviest rain and wind from Emily would impact the Bahamas on Friday. Southern and central Florida could be impacted by rain and winds from Emily as early as Saturday," Evans said.

In the U.S. interior, the Great Lakes region will be hit by severe thunderstorms Tuesday night, with damaging winds, large hail, torrential downpours, and possibly a few tornadoes, according to AccuWeather.com. Cities that could be affected include Detroit and Cleveland.

In Kansas City, Missouri, the National Weather Service predicted a high of 109 on Tuesday, which would easily eclipse its all-time high of 104. The temperature had reached 106 degrees by late afternoon. Heat in Kansas City this summer is already suspected in the deaths of 21 persons, according to the city's health department.

RECORDS BROKEN IN KANSAS

Wichita, Kan. had reached 108 degrees by late afternoon, according to the weather service. Temperatures are forecast to exceed 100 degrees there for at least another six days.

Kansas recorded its fifth hottest July on record, with an average statewide combined day and night temperature of 84.7 degrees. That's 5.8 degrees higher than normal, according to a Kansas State University report, citing state climatologist Mary Knapp.

The July heat set a record for south central Kansas, where the average temperature was 88.5 degrees -- 7 degrees above average. The previous record was 87.8 degrees, set during the Dust Bowl days of 1934, said Knapp.

The hottest temperature in the state for July was recorded July 31 at Medicine Lodge in south central Kansas, with a reading of 116 degrees, breaking the record of 114 degrees set in 1985.

In Omaha, Omaha's trash hauler abandoned some routes Monday as 12 workers fell ill during the heat. Two workers were hospitalized and 10 were sent home. The temperature hit 98 degrees Monday afternoon in Omaha.

Temperatures in Tennessee pushed toward 100 Tuesday. Heat advisories were in effect in western Tennessee, where actual temperatures were expected to reach triple digits.

In the middle of the state, around Nashville, the upper 90s and low 100s were forecast, with heat indexes into the 100s. Eastern Tennessee, where it is slightly cooler usually, is under an air quality warning.

Despite complaints from parents and students about the heat, several school systems began classes for the new academic year on Monday. More systems are opening next week.

A three-year-old Georgia boy died of heat stroke after he was left in a parked car Sunday, Warner Robins police said on Tuesday.

(Additional Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Carey Gillam Timothy Ghianni in Nashville, David Beasley in Atlanta, David Hendee in Omaha; Editing by Greg McCune)

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