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News Link • American History

The Deadly 1911 Heat Wave That Drove People Insane

• arclein

In an age before air conditioning or widespread use of electric fans, many struggled to cope with this multi-day deadly heat. June had been easy enough, but a sweep of hot, dry air from the southern plains suppressed any relief from the ocean breeze. In Providence, Rhode Island, temperatures rose 11 degrees in a single half hour. New York City and Philadelphia became sweltering centers of chaos, while all across New England, railway tracks buckled, mail service was suspended and people perished beneath the sun. Total death tolls are estimated to have topped 2000 in just a few weeks.

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