A heatwave baked eastern states in record temperatures yesterday after storms killed at least 12 people and downed power lines, leaving more than three million customers without electricity.
Emergencies were declared in Washington DC, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia because of damage from overnight storms, which unleashed hurricane-force winds across a 500-mile stretch of the mid-Atlantic region. Barack Obama authorised the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) to co-ordinate all disaster relief efforts in storm-ravaged Ohio.
The storms were followed by temperatures that topped 38C (100F) in several southern cities, including Atlanta, where the mercury hit 41C.
Heat warnings remained in effect across the south-east and lower Mississippi valley, with temperatures above 38C expected across the south. The National Weather Service said: "It is very unsafe outdoors for those susceptible to these extreme conditions."