ARIZONA NEWS

134 million in the U.S. under alerts for ‘extremely dangerous and record-breaking’ heat wave

Jul 4, 2024, 6:30 PM

A homeless man named Angel drinks a soda to keep cool during a heat wave in San Francisco on Wednes...

A homeless man named Angel drinks a soda to keep cool during a heat wave in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. (Gabrielle Lurie/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

(Gabrielle Lurie/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Around 134 million people in the U.S. are under alerts as an “extremely dangerous and record-breaking” heat wave broils much of the country, according to the National Weather Service.

Regions that may see temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) or much higher into the triple digits (well above 37 degrees Celsius) include nearly all of the West Coast, the southern Plains, most of the lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley and parts of Florida, said Bob Oravec, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

The Pacific Northwest will see the mercury rising later in the weekend. Arizona will continue to sizzle as firefighters battle a wildfire near Phoenix, where some contend with burns from blazing hot asphalt, concrete or other surfaces. And more humid regions will see a muggy weekend.

“If it’s both humid and hot, you can’t really rely on sweat to cool you down to a safe level,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with the University of California, Los Angeles.

It’s a dangerous weather pattern hitting as fires burn in northern California, and just in time for a holiday weekend. When people are celebrating, “it’s very easy to get sidetracked,” staying out for longer and forgetting to stay hydrated, said Chris Stachelski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “And then all of a sudden you’re putting yourself more at risk.”

Human-caused climate change is making heat waves longer and more intense. More research will be needed to link an individual event like this one directly to climate change, but given the overall trajectory, Swain wasn’t surprised by the forecast this weekend. Even so, “the pace of record breaking heat extremes and precipitation extremes is becoming a little bit overwhelming,” he said.

This heat wave’s expected duration, breadth and high overnight temperatures compound the risks to people’s health. “I think this heat wave may end up being more consequential, more dangerous, and more record breaking in many cases than the heat waves that produce those slightly higher temperatures,” Swain said.

Stachelski added that even after the highest temperatures have passed, heat can still be dangerous, especially to the most vulnerable — the young, old and those without access to air conditioning.

Experts urge people to drink plenty of water and find air conditioning. Big Sur State Parks used Sabrina Carpenter lyrics to urge hikers to “please, please, please” avoid caffeine and alcohol, wear sun protection and know trails ahead of time.

The extended high temperatures that cook the West Coast will also dry out vegetation and set the stage to make the remaining months of the fire season more severe, Swain said.

“Heat is an underrated killer,” Swain said, referring both in the short term to heat waves like this one and to the broader trends of global warming. “It’s one we’ve long underestimated. And I think we continue to do so at our peril.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, on July 5, 2024. The Demo...

KTAR.com

Democratic National Committee pumps money into battleground state Arizona

The Democratic National Committee announced nearly $1.5 million in investments in Arizona as part of its battleground state strategy.

32 minutes ago

Missing 87-year-old man from Sun Lakes subject of new Silver Alert...

Serena O'Sullivan

Silver Alert issued for missing 87-year-old man last seen in southeast Valley

A missing 87-year-old man from Sun Lakes hasn't been seen since Monday, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

2 hours ago

3 dead after apartment fire broke out in Phoenix Ahwatukee area...

KTAR.com

Phoenix FD investigating homicide after 1 woman, 2 men found dead in apartment fire

An apartment fire broke out around 6:30 a.m. on July 15, 2024, according to the Phoenix Fire Department. Three people died as a result.

3 hours ago

Arizona arsonist sentenced to 4 years in prison for 2 house fires...

KTAR.com

Arizona man sentenced to 4 years in prison after setting 2 houses on fire last year

A 19-year-old man was sentenced to four years in prison after igniting two West Phoenix houses on fire last May, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Perfect Pear Bistro Chandler set to open soon...

KTAR.com

Perfect Pear Bistro expands to Chandler for 1st location outside Tempe

Perfect Pear Bistro expanded its operations outside of Tempe for the first time, bringing its signature grilled cheeses to Chandler on Monday.

5 hours ago

Triple Twist, Powerball produce 2 big winners over weekend...

Payne Moses

Gas station in the East Valley sells $1.75M lottery ticket to lucky winner

Check your tickets if you played Triple Twist or Powerball because slips worth $1,745,000 and $100,000 were sold at Arizona gas stations this past weekend, Arizona Lottery officials announced.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

134 million in the U.S. under alerts for ‘extremely dangerous and record-breaking’ heat wave