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Storms cool off some areas suffering heat wave

SHARE Storms cool off some areas suffering heat wave

A heat wave kept the Southeast and the Plains sizzling Saturday as some spots of the country that had been baking earlier were cooled off by thunderstorms and rain showers.

Temperatures climbed into the 90s in Nebraska, which earlier saw near-record power use as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners. With the heat came occasional hailstorms that caused damage to crops."Our water park is packed," said Scott Kirk, director of sales for Omaha's Fun Plex. "They definitely want to get in the water. There are not many people sitting around the pool. They're in the water to stay cool."

He said the workers are following state health officials' recommendations. "We're getting lots of water and taking lots of breaks," he said.

Showers and thunderstorms lined up from northern Michigan into eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

New England, which had experienced severe humidity, cooled down amid heavy rainfall in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

It was a different story in the South. "It's been slam packed. We're slammed with people right now," said Leesha Baker, an employee of a Dairy Queen in Richmond, Va.

Temperatures in many parts of Virginia reached the mid-90s and in some areas the heat index was well over 100 degrees.

In the Carolinas, the thermometer broke the 100-degree mark. Carolina Power & Light Co. and Duke Energy Corp. both set usage records Friday, but CP&L spokesman Sally Ramey said usage was down Saturday.

Heat may have been a factor in the death of 83-year-old Janie Simmons in Charleston, S.C., authorities said. She was found unconscious Friday on the second floor of her home. Sim-mons was having trouble breathing and later died at a hospital.