Record-Breaking Heat Wave Sweeps Across U.S., Impacting Over 100 Million

East Coast Braces for Unprecedented Temperatures as Heat Dome Expands Nationwide.

An intense heat wave continues to grip much of the United States, triggering record-breaking temperatures and placing millions under heat warnings. On Sunday, more than 100 million people across the country faced extreme heat, with cities on the East Coast bracing for unprecedented temperatures as the heat dome responsible for these dangerous conditions expands to the West Coast.

East Coast Sees Record Highs

Baltimore and Philadelphia are expected to reach near-record temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) on Sunday. Meanwhile, states such as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming will see temperatures soar into the 90s, as much as 15 degrees above the seasonal norm. The National Weather Service (NWS) warns that the extreme heat will shift to Nebraska and Kansas on Monday.

In the Philadelphia region, officials are particularly concerned about high humidity levels, which could drive heat indices above 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius), making it feel even hotter. “It likely means we’ll be seeing periodic periods of excessive heat across a decent part of the country into July,” said NWS meteorologist Marc Chenard. “Not continuous at any one spot, but the overall pattern will continue to favor these above-normal temperatures.”

Midwest and West Coast Brace for Scorching Temperatures

Temperatures have cooled in the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, and New England regions, but excessive heat in the 90s Fahrenheit continues to stretch from Virginia to New York. Phoenix, Arizona, has already experienced its hottest days of 2024, with temperatures reaching 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). The first 19 days of June are the hottest on record for Phoenix, with an average temperature of 95.1 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).

In California, major cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco are under heat advisories. The NWS has issued a heat advisory for Southern California, warning that temperatures are expected to reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius). Northern California’s Sacramento Valley could see temperatures as high as 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41.7 degrees Celsius).

Climate Change and Long-Term Impact

Research indicates that climate change is driving dangerous heat waves across the Northern Hemisphere, with conditions expected to persist for decades. The Biden administration has declared an emergency over the wildfires in New Mexico, which have been blamed for two deaths and the destruction of more than 1,400 structures. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the fires, which have scorched 25,000 acres (10,117 hectares) around the village of Ruidoso.

Health and Safety Precautions

The extreme heat has claimed at least six lives in Phoenix, with another 87 deaths under investigation for potential heat-related causes. Last year, Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, reported 645 heat-related deaths, a significant increase from 425 in 2022.

Officials are urging residents to take precautions against the heat. In New York City, a heat advisory is in effect, warning of potentially the longest stretch of 90-degree Fahrenheit days in June on record. Philadelphia has extended a heat health emergency through midnight on Sunday, and Washington, D.C. is also facing a heat emergency, with temperatures expected to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

As the heat wave continues, communities across the United States are bracing for more record-breaking temperatures and the associated health risks. Authorities are emphasizing the importance of staying hydrated, avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, and checking on vulnerable populations to prevent heat-related illnesses and fatalities.

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