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Heavy rains flood Northeast; scorching heat grips South, Southwest

It's not just record rains putting people at risk; more than a third of Americans remain under heat advisories.
Heavy rains flood Northeast; scorching heat grips South, Southwest
Posted at 4:41 PM, Jul 16, 2023

Extreme weather in various forms persists and puts millions of Americans at risk, from sweltering heat in the South and Southwest to torrential rains and flooding in the Northeast.

Threats of a deluge continue as people remain on edge in Vermont. In the town of Ripton, the onslaught of rain earlier in the week and then more rain on Friday brought on a mudslide, destabilizing already saturated soil and forcing authorities to order a dozen people to evacuate. Meanwhile, in Middlesex, wary homeowners continue their clean-up.

"Everybody up from our house was stranded. They couldn't get in or out," said Stephanie Petrarca of Middlesex, Vermont.

Stephanie Petrarca's house took on flooding in her basement, but her neighbors fared far worse.

"We got hit really hard with this whole thing, with the trees coming down, turning our whole place into a river," said Laurie Dodge, who also lives in Middlesex.

Further north, rain turned Maine roads into rivers, and in the South, dangerous thunderstorms halted a Luke Combs concert in North Carolina.

And it's not just record rains putting people at risk; more than a third of Americans remain under heat advisories, with scorching temperatures affecting the South and Southwest.

SEE MORE: 4 dead, 3 missing, including baby, after flash flood in Pennsylvania

The heat wave is spreading into California's Imperial Valley, with one farm halting operations to protect workers.

"We'll cut the working hours off an hour or two because it's too hot working outdoors," said George Tudor, President at Tudor Ranch.

Next door in Riverside, fire fighters battled a quick-moving inferno in punishing hot weather. In Phoenix, authorities opened hundreds of cooling centers at the county emergency management office, demonstrating the risks of staying outside by cooking a pizza inside a parked car.

One place is really sizzling, and that's Death Valley National Park in California. Forecasters predict the area may reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That would tie or break the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth. Park rangers urge people visiting in this heat to make sure loved ones know where they are at all times.

"This time of year, especially when it's this hot, it's great to have someone back at home who's not on the journey with you who knows where you're going, when you should be at certain places, and when you should be checking in with them so that if you don't check in, they know to let someone know you haven't checked in and where you should have been going," said Nichole Andler, Park Ranger at Death Valley National Park.

Authorities across the U.S. are urging the public to stay safe and be aware of the risks during extreme weather.

In Vermont, with the disaster declaration in place, people are looking to FEMA for help and also hoping the rains ease for relief. The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, is scheduled to visit Monday to survey roads heavily damaged by flood erosion. 

Furthermore, the extreme weather is also impacting flights, particularly in the Northeast due to the storms.

As of early Sunday evening, more than 7,800 U.S. flights had been delayed, with more than 1,500 cancellations, according to FlightAware.

The airports with the most reported travel issues Sunday was Newark in New Jersey and JFK in New York.

The FAA said there were ground stops today at both those airports, as well as La Guardia and Boston Logan International Airport.

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