Continued heat wave breaks records, spirits

Continued heat wave breaks records, spirits

From the normally chilly Russian Arctic to the traditionally sweltering American South, large parts of the Northern Hemisphere continued to sizzle with extreme heat as the onset of summer resembled the dog days of August.

In the United States, a heat dome of three-digit temperatures in many places combined with high humidity fluctuated from west to east. On Thursday, at least eight states reached 100 degrees (37.8 degrees Celsius) and at least nine high temperature markers were set or broken, according to the National Weather Service, which kept 30 million Americans under some sort of heat advisory.

Thursday’s extreme discomfort came after 12 states broke the 100-degree mark on Wednesday and tied or broken 21 records. Since June 15, at least 113 automated weather stations have broken or broken high temperature records. Scientists say this early baking has all the hallmarks of climate change.

“It’s easy to look at these numbers and forget the immense misery they represent. People who can’t afford air conditioning and those who work outside the home have only one option: to suffer,” said Texas A&M climate scientist Andrew Dessler, who was at College Station, where temperatures reached a record 102 degrees (38.9 degrees Celsius). ). Thursday. “Those of us with air conditioning may not suffer physically, but we are prisoners inside.”

After three deaths, Chicago has changed its cooling rules.

In Macon, Georgia, temperatures rose from 64 degrees (17.8 degrees Celsius) to 105 (40.6 degrees Celsius) in just nine hours on Wednesday. On Thursday, the temperature peaked at 104 (40 degrees Celsius), a record for the day. Even Minneapolis hit 100 on Monday.

Probably only the Pacific Northwest and Northeast were spared from the heat wave, said meteorologist Marc Chenard of the National Weather Service at the Weather Prediction Center. On Thursday, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Arizona and California all reached at least 100. The same states reached 100 on Wednesday, along with North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“It’s stubborn,” Chenard said. “It’s been over a week and it will continue in some ways.”

It’s not just the US

The Russian city of Norilsk, above the Arctic Circle, reached 89.6 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) for the hottest June day on record on Thursday and tied for the hottest day in any month on record, according to Maximiliano Herrera, who tracks global temperature records. Several Japanese cities reached their highest temperatures in June, including 97 (36.1 degrees Celsius) in Nobeoka City, while Turpan, China, reached 114 degrees (46.5 degrees Celsius). Herrera said it’s so crazy that he doesn’t have time to eat or sleep, just keeping up with broken records and extreme heat.

A European heat wave has also caused problems with fires in Germany and Spain.

Victor Gensini, a meteorology professor at Northern Illinois University, said what is happening with this early heat wave is “very consistent with what we would expect in a continuously warming world.”

“These temperatures are occurring at just 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) of global warming and we are on our way to 4 degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 degrees Celsius) more warming in this century,” Dessler said. “I literally can’t imagine how bad that will be.”

In Raleigh, North Carolina, it hit 100 on Wednesday and usually the city only gets one 100 degrees a day a year, but it’s coming much later than this, said state climatologist Kathie Dello.

“In the southeastern US, many do not have access to adequate or stable cooling or cannot afford to use their home cooling systems. Heat illness and mortality are among our greatest risks to public health in a changing climate.”

Over the weekend or Monday, there could be some cooling in some places, including the north-central part of the country, Chenard said. But above-normal temperatures are forecast for “at least until the first half of July” and he added it will likely be hotter than usual throughout the summer.

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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears

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