Heavy rains, floods, hit southern US, 43C along East Coast

Millions will spend the weekend hot under the collar, 1000 rescued from floods

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Millions of Americans will spend the weekend hot under the collar as soaring East Coast temperatures and stifling humidity slapped excessive weather warnings on New York and Philadelphia.

The combination of heat and humidity would make it feel as hot as 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in the two cities.

Temperatures would stay in the mid 90s from Friday through Sunday, with the humidity pushing heat index values higher in New York and Philadelphia, home to around 10 million people combined, meteorologists said.

Authorities warned of heat-related health problems, especially for the elderly and those with chronic health problems, and for people who work outdoors.

Americans were advised to stay inside and use air conditioning where possible, check on vulnerable friends and neighbors, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and not leave children or pets unattended in vehicles.

Overall, the heatwave stretched from southwest Ohio to western Virginia and Washington, and north through Philadelphia, New York and Boston, said David Roth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Dallas, Washington, parts of New Jersey and New York's Long Island could hit record highs on Friday, Roth told AFP.

Five other spots stretching from Maryland's Ocean City to Connecticut might set similar records on Saturday, before the heat fades Sunday and Monday, he added.

In the southern US, heavy rain pummeled parts of Louisiana and Mississippi as an area of low pressure slowly moved west along the Gulf Coast. Many streams were out of their banks on Friday, the National Weather Service said.

The area recorded 10 to 15 inches (25.4 to 38.1 cm) of rain, Roth said. Another 10 inches were expected in parts of Louisiana over the next two days.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says flooding has reached record levels in some parts of the state following days of torrential rain.

He said at a press conference Saturday that officials still don't know how bad the flooding will get and warned residents not to rely on past experience when deciding on a course of action. He says residents advised to evacuate should do so.

Edwards also advised residents to avoid unnecessary road travel. He said more than 1,000 people have been rescued so far from homes, cars and elsewhere. About 100 pets have also been rescued.

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