Home » Historic and Enduring U.S. Heat Wave, by the Numbers
Featured Global News News Science United states

Historic and Enduring U.S. Heat Wave, by the Numbers

The “dangerous, long-lived, and record-breaking” heat wave is set to continue in the U.S. Southwest “well into next week” and spread to more southern states by the weekend, the National Weather Service warns.

The big picture: Over 123 million people were under heat alerts in the U.S. Friday morning, as health officials report a spike in callouts and Emergency Department visits due to the extreme weather.

For the record: The U.S. has seen more than 12,000 record-high temperatures so far this year, according to NOAA.

  • As climate change influences the frequency and intensity of extreme heat waves like this one, research from the Virginia Commonwealth University and Center for American Progress estimates it costs the U.S. health care system about $1 billion a year.
  • Phoenix remains on track to become the first major U.S. city to “average over 100°F for an entire month,” per U.C. Davis freshman Colin McCarthy.

Zoom in: Phoenix’s record run of consecutive days with a temperature at or above 110°F continued Thursday. Sky Harbor International Airport hit 119°F — beating the previous daily record high by 5°F and marking only the seventh time it’s reached 119°F or above, according to the NWS. It’s the airport’s fourth straight day of hitting highs of 115°F or greater.

  • The Arizona city also experienced its 11th consecutive day with low temperatures at or above 90°F as it recorded a low of 93°F Thursday morning, which the NWS’ Phoenix office notes ties the warm low record that was set in 2020.
  • The Maricopa Association of Governments has made available four respite centers, 60 hydration stations and 30 cooling centers in response to oppressive heat wave.

Zoom out: Miami’s heat index record of temperatures topping 100°F extended into a 39th straight day Thursday and the NWS expects this to continue into Friday, as ocean temperatures surrounding South Florida and the Florida Keys reach unprecedented levels and influence conditions on land.

In Las Vegas, where the concrete sidewalks seared to 143.9°F in the sun and 126.5°F in the shade this week, the airport reached 111°F on Thursday to extend the Nevada city’s streak of consecutive days at or above 110°F to seven — just three days off the record.

Austin, Texas, experienced on Wednesday its 10th straight day of temperatures at or above 105°F for the first time in recorded history.

In Death Valley, California, where temperatures neared a world-record high over the weekend, officials said a 71-year-old Los Angeles man collapsed “amid temperatures that had soared to 121°F” and later died on Tuesday afternoon. Park rangers suspect heat was a factor.

Threat level: Heat is the leading annual weather-related killer in the U.S. and the true death tolls and destruction are often not immediately apparent.

  • The Maricopa County Department of Public Health this week confirmed 18 heat-related deaths for 2023 and are investigating a further 69, and officials told Axios Phoenix the current heat wave is still ramping up.
  • An official at the Phoenix-based Valleywise Health Medical Center told CNN the heat is “taking a major toll” and the hospital “has not been this busy with overflow since a few peaks in the Covid pandemic.”
  • There were more than 300 heat-related visits per 100,000 people across the Phoenix region Thursday alone, according to the CDC.

What’s next: Triple-digit high temperatures are expected to extend northward into the central Great Basin by the weekend, an NWS forecast discussion Friday morning.

  • “Oppressive heat and humidity are forecast to create widespread 105-110 degree heat indices across the Mid-South, Southeast, and Gulf Coast through early this weekend,” the NWS said.

Source : AXIOS