(CTN News) – An unyielding heatwave has gripped the US Southwest for weeks, with meteorologists warning of its expansion into central and eastern regions. The Midwest is set to experience scorching temperatures extending eastward, reaching as far as the southern tip of Florida by Wednesday.
The intensity of the heat has shattered temperature records in several major cities over the weekend, putting 59 million Americans under extreme heat advisories on Monday. Alarming statistics reveal that July is on track to become the Earth’s hottest month since record-keeping began.
Phoenix, Arizona, Faces Unprecedented Heat Streak and Looming Record
Phoenix, Arizona, has endured an astonishing 24-day streak of temperatures surpassing 43°C (110°F). This has significantly surpassed the previous record set in 1974, which stood at 18 consecutive days.
In a concerning trend, Phoenix is heading towards becoming the first major US city to average over 100°F (38°C) for an entire month, as reported by NOAA statistics and a Washington Post analysis. Such extreme conditions are putting residents’ lives at risk, with at least 18 heat-related deaths reported in surrounding Maricopa County since April and investigations into 69 more deaths underway.
Escalating Human Cost and Environmental Impact of the Heatwave
The relentless heatwave has caused a staggering 38 consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 38°C (100°F) in El Paso, Texas. The National Park Service has also reported at least four deaths among visitors to its parks in the southwest region, including two female hikers who tragically lost their lives in Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park under scorching temperatures as high as 45°C (114°F). Notably, extreme heat has become the leading weather-related killer in the US, causing profound concerns for public health and safety.
Heat Dome Phenomenon and Predictions for the Future
Experts attribute the ongoing heatwave to a “heat dome,” a large area of high pressure that traps heated air from the surface, leading to sweltering conditions. Meteorologists warn that the heat dome will continue to expand, engulfing almost the entire continental US with hotter-than-average temperatures throughout the week.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center predicts that this heatwave will persist for at least two more weeks, exacerbating the already dire situation.
Climate Change: The Root Cause of Intensified Heatwaves
As the US experiences a record-breaking number of high-temperature records this year, exceeding 13,000, and over 16,000 low-temperature records, experts point to human-induced climate change as the primary driver behind more frequent, intense, and prolonged heatwaves.
The alarming situation has prompted Washington state’s Democratic governor, Jay Inslee, to call for immediate action, emphasizing that the consequences of climate change are evident in the heatwaves affecting regions worldwide.
In conclusion, the ongoing heatwave engulfing the US, with its severe consequences and record-breaking temperatures, serves as a dire warning of the escalating impact of climate change on the planet. Urgent and decisive action is needed to address the root causes and mitigate the devastating effects of such extreme weather events.