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Record temperatures set across US as heat wave engulfs nation

A heat wave that hits large swathes of the United States has led multiple officials to declare heat emergencies and apply for residency

A heat wave affecting large swathes of the United States has led multiple officials to announce heat emergencies and urge residents to cut energy use to protect the electrical grid.

A relentless heat wave in the US that has triggered health warnings for more than 100 million people is set to intensify this weekend, with projected temperatures and humidity rising to stifling heights in many parts of the country.

The devastating heat — which has also hit Europe, causing hundreds of deaths there — highlights the immediate threat climate change poses to even the world’s richest countries.

“So far this week, 60 daily high temperature records have been linked/broken as dangerous heat enveloped much of the nation,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet Thursday morning.

“More records are likely to be set in the coming week,” it added.

Temperatures in much of the southwestern United States have risen above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), in some areas even over 110 degrees. Similar levels were recorded in the southern US, where the humidity exacerbated the discomfort.

The NWS tweeted Tuesday that 100 million people were receiving heat-related warnings and advice, and said Thursday that a “significant portion of the population” would remain under such warnings this weekend.

High temperatures are expected to rise further this weekend on the east coast of the United States, where high humidity could push “feel” temperatures well above 100 degrees.

Washington and Philadelphia have both announced a heat emergency and warned residents to remain vigilant.

“Stay hydrated, limit sun exposure and monitor seniors, neighbors and pets,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Twitter.

Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health warned in a statement that “during hot weather, children and pets should not be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.”

More heat is coming

While the oppressive heat is expected to ease in the southern and eastern US next week, a high-pressure system over the Pacific Northwest is expected to bring temperatures 10-15 degrees above normal.

Temperatures have soared in Europe too, setting a new record in Britain, where the national weather service clocked 104.5 degrees in eastern England, surpassing the previous high set in 2019.

Unlike much of Western Europe, most homes in the United States have air conditioning, which helps reduce the health risks of the heat wave, but puts a strain on the electrical grid during times of heavy use.

In Texas, residents were asked last week to reduce their power consumption by not using large appliances from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., as the southern state electric utility warned that low wind speeds were jeopardizing grid reliability.

The city of New York asked residents on Thursday to use less energy by setting their air conditioning to 78 degrees and unplugging appliances.

Scientists have warned that heat waves like those felt in the United States and Europe will become more frequent and intensified as a result of global warming.

Though he campaigned with an agenda of vigorous action on climate change, US President Joe Biden’s biggest plans have been thwarted by the Supreme Court and lawmakers, including from his own Democratic party.

Biden announced in a speech Wednesday that his administration would redouble efforts to tackle global warming, but stopped declaring a formal climate emergency, which would give him additional policy powers.

Summer heat: ongoing heat wave breaks records, spirits

© 2022 AFP

Quote: Record US temperatures as heat wave sweeps across the country (July 2022, July 22) retrieved July 22, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-temperatures-engulfs-nation.html

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