Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

It is soon going to be dangerously hot for 100 million Americans

More than 95 million people from Southern California to western Pennsylvania and as far south as Florida are already under an excessive heat warning or heat advisory

By Derrick Bryson Taylor
Published: Jun 16, 2022

It is soon going to be dangerously hot for 100 million AmericansNeighbors Samuel Hernandez, Maria Hernandez, Luisa Ortega and Issac Montelongo sit outside as they watch the kids play in water during a heatwave with expected temperatures of 102 F (39 C) in Dallas, Texas, U.S. June 12, 2022. Though the heat wave caused electricity use in Texas to reach an all time high, the power grid remained largely stable without major issues. Image: Shelby Tauber / Reuters

Heat-related warnings and advisories were in effect Wednesday for nearly a third of the U.S. population, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast, the National Weather Service said, adding that it may take weeks to see relief.

More than 95 million people from Southern California to western Pennsylvania and as far south as Florida were under an excessive heat warning or heat advisory, meteorologists said. Residents should expect to see temperatures rise well into the 90s and 100s, with heat indexes — a measure of how hot it feels factoring in humidity and temperature — soaring in some locations into the triple digits.

By 9 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, 17 weather stations had already broken their high temperatures records for June 15, said Bryan Jackson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, including those in Chicago (96 degrees), Atlanta (99), and Lansing, Michigan (95).

In Macon, Georgia, temperatures rose to 104, a 4-degree increase from the previous record for the date, set in 2011, Jackson said.

“When you break record highs in June, it is pretty significant,” he added. “This is a particularly hot air mass that’s across the east-central U.S.”

Steamy conditions were also forecast across portions of southwest Indiana, southeast Missouri, western Kentucky and southern Illinois, where an excessive heat warning was in place through Thursday evening. Heat indexes over the next two days will top out around 106 and 107 degrees. In southwest Michigan and northwest Ohio, heat indexes were expected to reach 110 degrees.

The soaring temperatures appear to be part of a hot weather pattern settling over the lower 48 states ahead of the official start of summer next week. Over the weekend, a scorching heat wave brought record high temperatures to 16 cities from the Southwest to the Southern Plains, and portions of the Southwest and South Texas saw dangerously high temperatures last week.

Next week, much of the east-central United States will continue to experience excessive heat, according to the National Weather Service.

Parts of eastern Texas, northern Louisiana and the Middle Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee valleys as well as the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions were also at risk of “rapid onset drought” from late next week, the weather service added.

Parts of the central Great Basin and the Southwest will also experience enhanced wildfire risk on Saturday, according to the service’s Weather Prediction Center.

Also read: Climate change: The window is closing to take action

In Kansas, about 2,000 cattle died over the weekend from the heat and humidity, said Matthew Lara, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “There wasn’t a lot of wind to help cool them,” Lara said of the animals. “It was just too hot.”

About 165,000 residents in Odessa, Texas, which faced temperatures above 100 degrees this week, were without potable water Tuesday because of a water line break, officials said. A boil water notice has been issued and is expected to remain in effect until water pressure is restored and water is deemed safe to consume. In the interim, the Texas Division of Emergency Management was distributing bottled water.

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