In the US Southwest, numerous cities broke or equaled heat records over the weekend. And the National Meteorological Agency warns: “The heatwave will spread this week.”

Almost 100 million people in the USA are currently suffering from extreme heat, which has already led to new temperature records from California to Texas over the weekend. “The early-season heatwave will continue this week, spreading from the plains to the Midwest and Southeast,” the NWS warned. “Well above normal, record-breaking highs and lows are predicted.”

Even at night there will be little relief for many people, the National Weather Service said. In the particularly affected areas, temperatures will remain at least 24 degrees Celsius overnight. These conditions posed a serious risk of heat-related illnesses. Excessive heat kills more people in the United States than all other weather-related disasters, including hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes combined.

US Weather Administration issues warning

On Sunday, the agency released “Excessive Heat Warnings” for around 25 million people. The NWS issues such excessive heat warnings when people could be seriously harmed by high temperatures if precautions are not taken. They are intended to raise public awareness of the danger, but also prompt hospitals and authorities to prepare for an increase in emergency calls and to activate programs to care for the elderly and vulnerable groups.

In addition, the weather service published “Heat Advisories” for around 72 million other people. These recommendations mean that people can be harmed by the heat without precautions. They are intended to alert the public to the need to take these precautionary measures and initiate other regulations, such as a ban on evictions and power cuts, and changes to outdoor work regulations.

On Saturday, heat records were set or broken in more than 25 major cities. In Phoenix, Arizona, the Weather Service measured 46 degrees Celsius, tying the 1918 record for that day. There, a man grilled burgers and baked a cake on the dashboard of his car, reports the newspaper “USA Today”.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, the record from 1956 was broken with temperatures of up to 43 degrees. In the state of Colorado, Denver hit 38 degrees, tying the 2013 record for both the highest temperature and the earliest calendar day to hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius). Death Valley in California, where the highest temperature ever measured on earth was recorded at 56.7 degrees on July 10, 1913, was the hottest place in the country with 50 degrees on Saturday.

Extreme heat is perfectly normal in certain regions of the United States in the summer. However, according to experts, the current temperatures are unusual this early in the season. Scientists say that due to climate change and increasing drought, we can expect more frequent and intense heat waves in the future.

Quellen: National Weather Service I, National Weather Service II, “Axios”, “USA Today”, Associated Press