More than 2,000 U.S. heat records matched or broken

NEW YORK Tue Jul 3, 2012 6:21am EDT

People play in the fountain at Washington Square Park in New York July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

People play in the fountain at Washington Square Park in New York July 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 2,000 temperature records have been matched or broken in the past week as a brutal heat wave baked much of the United States, and June saw more than 3,200 records topped, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA.L said Monday.

From June 25 to July 1, some 2,171 record temperatures were either broken or matched, the NOAA said. For the 30 days of June, that number rose to 3,215.

Accuweather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said the number of records broken was very unusual. He said that while some aspects of the heat wave are unknown, much of it is because of a lack of snow cover during the late winter on America's plains.

Instead of the sun's heat melting snow, it instead heated the ground, which in turn warmed the air. The increase in temperature even made crops grow ahead of schedule until now; Sosnowski said the lack of rainfall has stunted crops' growth.

Sosnowski added that while some areas are not unusually warm, namely New England and the Northwest, the center of the country will experience high temperatures for the next several weeks, possibly into August.

Five states had more than 100 record temperatures broken in June. Texas had 237 records broken, followed by Colorado (226), Kansas (164), Missouri (126), and Arkansas (115).

The NOAA data comes as a relentless heat grips much of the eastern United States for a fourth straight day. About 2.1 million homes and businesses remained without power on Monday after violent storms and soaring temperatures killed at least 18 people since Friday , many of them when trees fell on their cars or houses. (Reporting By Joseph O'Leary; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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