Record rainfall in Houston as searing heat lingers out West

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Severe storms on Wednesday that stretched from Colorado to New Jersey dumped a record rainfall on Houston, with some areas seeing up to 8 inches.

On America's birthday, 77 damaging storms were reported, including two tornadoes -- one in Florida, another in Texas -- that did damage.

Some flooding is possible on Thursday with severe storms across the Northeast, Ohio Valley, Gulf Coast and into parts of the Rockies. Elsewhere, soaring temperatures are popping up throughout the U.S. as 23 states from California to Maine are under fire alerts.

More than 60 wildfires are burning throughout the U.S., most of them in western states from California to Texas, where record heat and wind speeds may exacerbate the threat level.

Some areas may see gusts of 20 to 50 mph and a relative humidity of about 5 percent. Even in Los Angeles, temperatures may exceed 100 degrees on Friday.

In the eastern U.S., the oppressive heat will continue from Arkansas to Maine.

Nashville on Wednesday recorded its hottest day in six years -- 99 degrees, with a heat index above 100.

Heat indexes on Thursday are again expected to exceed 100 for much of the Midwest.

Temperatures are expected to take a slight dip soon, offering a break from the heat.

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