Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Heat Takes Lethal Turn; 3 Dead More Than 50 Are Sick; Area Is under Alert, Hoping for Rain

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Heat Takes Lethal Turn; 3 Dead More Than 50 Are Sick; Area Is under Alert, Hoping for Rain

Article excerpt

The St. Louis area's withering heat pushed slowly East on Friday, leaving three people dead and more than 50 others sick.

The dead included a St. Louis man, 67; a St. Louis woman, 89; and a Fairmont City man, 45. All apparently had suffered heat strokes.

After two days of 100 degrees or more, Friday's high hit 99 at 2:42 p.m. The heat index, which accounts for humidity and other factors, was 105 - down from 117 on Thursday.

Weather forecasters put today's high in the mid-90s, falling to the low 90s Sunday and Monday.

City and county health departments raised their official alarm to a heat alert, up from the heat warnings of the past week. They do that whenever there are two days in a row of 105 or more on the heat index.

The Weather Service forecast a 30 percent chance of rain tonight in western Missouri, with cooler air heading into central Missouri by Sunday morning.

"If we can get some wet gulf air in here, we have a chance" of rain Sunday, said Greg Dyer, a meteorologist at the service's office in Weldon Spring.

In Kansas City, where four people have died, Friday's high reached 96, down from 102 the day before. Across the nation, heat was blamed for almost 20 deaths.

The victims here were:

William H. Jones, 65, of the 2600 block of Rutger Street in St. Louis. He was found slumped in the cab of his pickup about 5:20 p.m. Thursday on the bank of the Mississippi River just south of downtown. He had a temperature of 108 degrees. He died at 5:53 a.m. Friday at St. Louis University Hospital.

One of his daughters said that Jones, a diabetic, had taken a load of cans to a recycling center and probably became disoriented when he drove east on Chouteau Avenue to go home.

Daniel Froelich, 42, of Fairmont City was found late Thursday inside his home with a temperature of 109 degrees. He was pronounced dead about 11:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Hospital in East St. Louis. Froelich had used a wheelchair for years.

Lola B. McHenry, 89, who lived at 4126 West Belle Place in St. Louis. Firefighters broke through her door Friday afternoon and found her dead in her first-floor bedroom. A neighbor had been unable to reach her.

The St. Louis and St. Louis County health departments reported at least 53 more cases of heat-related illness late Thursday and Friday - double the count reported Thursday afternoon. The city said three people, not including Jones, had to be admitted to hospitals Friday.

Friday's temperature missed the record for July 14 - 115. That was set in 1954 and is the record for the area.

Consumption of electricity here barely missed the record, set the day before. Union Electric Co. reported a high use at 3 p.m. Friday of 7.9 megawatts, or 7.9 billion watts. Thursday's peak was 7.95 megawatts.

Air quality improved somewhat. After exceeding government standards for ground-air ozone Monday through Thursday, the area barely stayed below them Friday. …

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