Heat advisories are in effect for 40 million Americans
Amid a scorching heat wave, the US National Weather Service (NWS) has issued heat alerts for approximately 40 million Americans in at least twelve states, spanning from Montana to Texas and Florida.
The intense hotness is persisting in the US Southwest and is expected to worsen in the Midwest this week, with a stationary heat dome expanding from the Southwest to the Midwest, according to the NWS update on Monday.
Temperatures are projected to reach or surpass 43.3 degrees Celsius in states such as California and Arizona. Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, has experienced a record-breaking 24 consecutive days of temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius, surpassing the previous record set in 1974.
In addition to the heat wave, severe thunderstorms are expected in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. These storms will likely intensify throughout the day as the atmosphere becomes more unstable due to daytime heating, with the strongest storms posing a risk of locally damaging wind gusts.
Tragically, Arizona’s Maricopa County has reported at least 18 heat-related deaths since April, with an additional 69 fatalities under investigation. The National Park Service has also reported four deaths among visitors.
Globally, June 2023 marked the hottest June in the 174-year climate record. The average global surface temperature in June was 1.05 degrees Celsius above average, making it the warmest June on record, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This June was 0.13 of a degree warmer than the previous record set in June 2020, and it continued a streak of 47 consecutive Junes and 532 consecutive months with temperatures above the 20th-century average.
Scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported that Earth’s ocean surface temperature anomaly, which indicates how much warmer or cooler temperatures are from the long-term average, also reached the highest levels ever recorded.
The extreme weather conditions are attributed to climate change and strong El Nino events, according to scientists.