By Carey Gillam
(Reuters) - A blast of late summer heat baked the U.S. Midwest on Tuesday, with officials closing public schools in Illinois and Ohio and opening cooling centers as record high temperatures roasted parts of the region.
Record temperatures were tied or broken in several Midwestern cities, according to the National Weather Service. In Chicago, the temperature reached 95F (35C), tying a record set in 1983.
The temperature reached 99F (37C) in Des Moines, Iowa, breaking a record set in 1927, the weather service reported.
A record was also set in South Bend, Indiana, where the temperature reached 97F (36C), breaking the previous record of 96F set in 1897, according to the weather service.
"We thought the dog days of summer were behind us, but we're having this last high heat event with temperatures above normal," said Matt Mosteiko, a weather service meteorologist in Michigan.
In the Chicago area, officials ordered some 50 schools closed. Schools in Middletown, outside of Cincinnati, were dismissing students early because of the heat.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for southern Michigan, including metro Detroit, that will extend through Wednesday night as temperatures could reach 98F (37C).
Detroit city officials urged residents to stay indoors and said they were setting up air-conditioned respite centers.
A heat advisory was also in effect for Ohio as forecast temperatures there tied or broke the high of 96F set in the state 30 years ago. Temperatures were about 15F degrees above normal and taking into account humidity, conditions felt more like 101F.
In Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn said more than 100 cooling centers were opened throughout that state on Tuesday, and he cautioned residents to protect themselves and friends and relatives from dehydration and other effects of extreme heat.
The hot weather also spells problems for many Midwestern farmers as it combines with the dry conditions to stress the U.S. corn and soybean crop, production could shrink.
But cool, autumn-like conditions should move into the Plains states, Midwest and East by the weekend, forecasters predicted.
Some areas were expected to continue to bake in toasty conditions. In Death Valley, California, famed for its extreme temperatures, the high was pegged at 105F on Tuesday and forecast to hit 109F on Saturday, according to Accuweather Inc, a private forecasting company.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Additional reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Eric Walsh)