The Latest: Horse races cancelled in North Texas due to heat

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on the heat wave spreading across the southern U.S. (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

A forecast of excessive heat this weekend has prompted the cancellation of the weekend’s racing at a North Texas thoroughbred horse racing track.

In a post to its social media channels, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie says the live racing was canceled for the sake of “the safety and welfare” of the horses and jockeys. The decision is based on a recommendation of the state veterinarian.

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The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for northern, eastern and central Texas effective through 7 p.m. Sunday. Forecasts called for high temperatures of almost 110 degrees (43 Celsius) all weekend.


7:40 p.m.

Mother Nature is bringing the heat at the home ballpark of the Texas Rangers.

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The temperature was 107 degrees (41.6 Celsius) for the first pitch just after 7 p.m. Friday, when the Rangers played the Cleveland Indians in their first game after the All-Star break. It was the highest temperature ever at the start of a game at the Texas ballpark, which is in its 25th season — and the second-warmest in the majors this season.

When the Los Angeles Angels hosted the Dodgers on July 7, it was 108 degrees (42.2 Celsius) at first pitch, a record for a game in Anaheim, California.

At Texas, there were two games with 106-degree (41.1-Celsius) temperatures in 2011 during an extended stretch of warm weather and 100-degree days in North Texas.

There will be extreme heat for the entire series against the Indians. The expected high on Saturday is 109 degrees (42.8 Celsius), when the teams again play at night, and the forecast for Sunday’s afternoon finale calls for a high of 108 (42.2 Celsius).

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2:30 p.m.

Texas prison officials are offering cold water, cold showers and opportunities to cool off in air-conditioned chapels and offices to thousands of inmates in lock-ups without central air-conditioning in a wide swath of the state under an excessive-heat warning.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel says the policy was expanded statewide for the first time in the agency’s history on Friday.

The measures come after a class-action settlement in May filed by six inmates who contended the oppressive heat at the Wallace Pack Unit in southeast Texas was unconstitutionally cruel punishment.

A federal judge ruled last summer the nation’s largest prison system was “deliberately indifferent” to the heat risks at the Pack unit. The settlement ordered the agency to come up with a plan to keep the heat index there no higher than 88 degrees (31 Celsius).

Including Pack, Texas has 29 air-conditioned prisons. Another 75 are either partially cooled or have no cooling. About one in five beds overall are considered air-conditioned. Texas has about 145,000 inmates.


10 a.m.

Scorching heat is spreading across much of the South, where temperatures are expected to soar over 100 degrees.

The National Weather Service posted heat advisories and warnings Friday from the New Mexico-Texas border eastward to parts of Alabama.

Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and west Tennessee were all under heat advisories or warnings Friday morning.

Forecasters say the hot temperatures will combine with high humidity, which could be lethal to some people. They warn that children, older people, those without air conditioning and outdoor workers will be particularly at risk.

There’s also a threat of severe storms, which could spawn tornadoes in parts of the South. The national Storm Prediction Center says the area at greatest risk of storms Friday includes parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.