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Record temperatures in the US as a heatwave sweeps the nation – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

A relentless US heatwave that has prompted health warnings for more than 100 million people is set to intensify this weekend, with temperatures and humidity expected to reach stifling highs in many parts of the country.

The devastating heat – which has also hit Europe, killing hundreds there – underscores the direct threat that climate change poses to even the wealthiest countries on earth.

“So far this week, 60 daily high temperature records have been set/broken as dangerous heat engulfed much of the nation,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet Thursday morning

“More records are likely to be set over the next week,” he added.

Temperatures in much of the southwestern United States have soared to over 38 degrees Celsius and have even surpassed 110 degrees in some areas. Similar levels were measured throughout the southern United States, where humidity increased discomfort.

The NWS tweeted Tuesday that 100 million people were receiving heat-related warnings and alerts, and said Thursday a “significant proportion of the population” would remain under such warnings over the weekend.

This weekend, already high temperatures should rise further on the east coast of the United States, where high humidity could push “perceived” temperatures well above 100 degrees.

Washington and Philadelphia have both declared heat emergencies and warned their residents to remain vigilant.

“Stay hydrated, limit sun exposure, and check on seniors, neighbors, and pets,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Twitter.

The Philadelphia Department of Health warned in a statement that “under no circumstances should children and pets be left unattended in vehicles during hot weather.”

– More heat follows –

While the sweltering heat is expected to ease in the southern and eastern US next week, a high pressure system over the Pacific Northwest is expected to push temperatures 10-15 degrees above normal levels.

Temperatures have also risen in Europe, setting a new all-time record in the UK, where the National Weather Service measured 104.5 degrees in eastern England, beating the previous high of 2019.

Unlike much of Western Europe, most homes in the United States have air conditioning, which helps mitigate the health risks of the heatwave but puts extra strain on the power grid during busy periods.

In Texas last week, residents were urged to reduce their electricity use by not running large appliances from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. as the southern state’s electric utility warned that low wind speeds are threatening grid reliability.

The city of New York on Thursday urged residents to use less energy by turning their air conditioners to 78 degrees and unplugging appliances.

Scientists have warned that heat waves like those being felt in the United States and Europe will increase in frequency and intensity due to global warming.

Despite campaigning for an agenda of robust action on climate change, US President Joe Biden’s grandest plans have been stymied by the Supreme Court and lawmakers, including his own Democratic Party.

Biden announced in a speech on Wednesday that his administration would redouble efforts to combat global warming, but stayed close to declaring a formal climate emergency that would give him additional political powers.

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