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South Central Plains remain an oven with triple-digit temps

By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters) - Oppressive heat continued to bake the southern Central Plains on Wednesday as the region braced for another stifling day of triple-digit weather, forecasters said.

Temperatures in the region were expected to climb as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit with little cool relief in sight, according to AccuWeather.com meteorologists.

The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings for much of the region including parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Arizona.

Heat advisories were in effect for surrounding areas including much of Texas and most of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

A cold front moving through the Midwest began cooling parts of the country's midsection, said NWS meteorologist Jim Keeney. Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri will see temperatures drop into the 80s later in the week with a chance of rain.

South and southeast parts of the country were predicted to swelter under high heat and humidity through next week, Keeney said.

Southern and central states broiling in the latest heat wave have had little chance to cool down overnight, said Accuweather.com senior meteorologist Paul Walker.

Across the region nighttime lows have settled in the upper 70s and low 80s, he said, with temperatures quickly rising the next day.

"You don't get relief. You still have the sticky, warm feeling overnight," said Walker.

Record highs were set on Tuesday with Dallas hitting 110 degrees, Little Rock reaching 106 degrees and Memphis sweating at 101 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. Record-setting temperatures were also recorded in Kansas City, Missouri, according to NWS.

HEAT DEATH

NWS said fewer heat related deaths have been reported during this stretch of hot weather, but the unrelenting heat has already been blamed in the death of an assistant football coach in Plano, Texas.

Garlen Wade McLain died Monday afternoon of heat-related illness associated with a heart condition, according to the Collin County Medical Examiner's Office. McLain, 55, collapsed after practice at the Prestonwood Christian Academy near Dallas.

In Charleston, South Carolina, high school football coaches were taking preventive measures against the heat with players practicing in shorts and helmets, taking frequent water breaks and even plunging into cool-down tubs.

The Northeast basked in more pleasant weather on Wednesday with temperatures in the 70s in New England, New York and northern Pennsylvania, according to The Weather Channel.

Washington, D.C., and Baltimore could see showers throughout the day with possible thunderstorms predicted from Philadelphia to New York, according to AccuWeather.com.

Meanwhile, weather watchers continued to track the projected path of Tropical Storm Emily, now bearing down on Hispaniola with the potential to become a low-level hurricane by early next week.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center revised its tracking guidance overnight to reflect the possibility that Emily would cut a northward path up the Florida peninsula beginning on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin and Harriet McLeod in Charleston; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)