The heat in areas of the southwestern United States raised temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius, even reaching 43.3 degrees in some regions.
A strong heat wave that hits the United States, and has triggered the alert in health services for more than 100 million people, will intensify this weekend with forecasts of humidity and suffocating temperatures that are increasing in several regions of the country.
The heat wave – which is also affecting Europe with hundreds of deaths – highlights the direct threat that climate change poses even to the world’s richest countries.
“This week alone, temperatures reached 60 highs as heat danger engulfed much of the country,” the National Weather Service (NWS) reported Thursday on its Twitter account.
“More records may be set over the next week,” he added.
Temperatures across vast areas of the southwestern United States were above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, reaching as high as 110 degrees in some regions. Similar temperatures were recorded in the south of the country where the humidity aggravates the sensation of heat.
The NWS tweeted on Tuesday that at least 100 million people across the country were under a heat wave warning, adding on Thursday that a “significant portion of the population” could remain under the same warning this weekend.
Already high temperatures may increase over the weekend along the East Coast, and the high humidity present could push the “wind chill” above 100 degrees.
Washington and Philadelphia declared heat emergencies and warned their residents to be alert.
“Stay hydrated, limit your sun exposure, and be aware of elders, neighbors, and pets,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Twitter.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said in a statement that “during hot weather, NEVER leave children and pets unattended in vehicles or under any other circumstances.”
On the other hand, the authorities expect a high-pressure system over the Pacific Northwest that can raise temperatures several degrees above normal levels.
Heat is also plaguing Europe, setting a record in the UK, where the climate service measured 40.2 degrees in the east of the country, beating the previous record set in 2019.
Unlike most of Western Europe, many American homes are air-conditioned, helping to mitigate heat and health risks but adding a load to the power grid during peak hours.
In Texas, residents were asked last week to reduce their electricity consumption by stopping using appliances between the hours of 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, as low wind speeds threatened service reliability.
New Yorkers should also reduce their electricity bills by setting their air conditioners to a minimum of 25º and unplugging appliances.
President Joe Biden announced in a speech Wednesday that his administration is working against global warming, but stopped short of formally declaring a climate emergency.