A dangerous heatwave is sweeping across the United States, with dozens of heat records expected to be broken this weekend. From Oregon to Florida, millions of Americans are at risk as temperatures soar to extreme levels. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for over 31 million people, and heat advisories for more than 57 million people. This unprecedented heatwave is expanding from the West to the East, affecting various regions of the country.
In the interior northwest, temperatures are expected to be 10 to 20 degrees above normal, with some areas in California reaching between 100 and 110 degrees. Desert areas in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona could experience temperatures between 115 and 120 degrees. Texas and Florida are also expected to face "sultry conditions" with highs in the 90s to low 100s and oppressive humidity levels, making it feel even hotter.
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are a serious concern during this heatwave. Officials are advising people to stay hydrated and remain indoors with air conditioning as much as possible. Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, heavy sweating, and weakness. If symptoms worsen, it could progress to heat stroke, which requires immediate medical attention. Heat strokes can cause confusion, unconsciousness, and potentially be life-threatening.
Extreme heat is the deadliest weather hazard in the United States, with an average of 702 heat-related deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Climate scientists warn that human-caused global warming is contributing to the frequency of extreme heat events.
In addition to the health risks, the hot and dry conditions are also fueling wildfires in Southern California. Three brush fires have already started, forcing evacuations and causing significant damage. Firefighters are working to contain these fires.
The heat is expected to continue into next week, particularly in the Southeastern United States, where temperatures are forecasted to reach dangerous levels. Heat indices of over 110 degrees are predicted, posing a significant risk to residents in the region. The heat will then shift back to the Southwest and western parts of the country later in July.
As this heatwave intensifies, it is important for individuals to take precautions and stay safe. It is also crucial for communities and policymakers to address the impacts of extreme heat and take measures to mitigate its effects.