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Dale Romans

Nation bakes as serious heat wave hits early

If you're feeling hot this week, it's not a mirage. From Montana to Louisiana, hundreds of heat records have been slashed as harrowing temperatures leave cornfields parched and city sidewalks sizzling.On Tuesday 251 new daily high temperature records were set, boosting to 1,015 the number of records set in the past seven days.The consequences range from comical — a bacon-fried driveway in Oklahoma — to catastrophic, as wildfires consuming parts of the Rocky Mountains are fueled by oppressive heat and gusty winds.The record-breaking numbers might seem big, but they're hard to put into context — the National Climatic Data Center has only been tracking the daily numbers broken for a little more than a year, said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the center.Still, it's impressive, given that records usually aren't broken until the scorching months of July and August."Any time you're breaking all-time records in mid- to late-June, that's a healthy heat wave," Arndt said.And if fore...

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