Extreme heat grips US, triggering alerts for 75 million Americans in the Midwest and Northeast - Hindustan Times
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Extreme heat grips US, triggering alerts for 75 million Americans in the Midwest and Northeast

AP | | Posted by Tuhin Das Mahapatra
Jun 18, 2024 07:17 AM IST

Over 75 million Americans face extreme heat alerts as a heat wave sweeps eastward, with the mid-Atlantic and New England expected to hit the 90s this week.

Over 75 million people in the United States were under extreme heat alerts Monday as a heat wave moved eastward, and the mid-Atlantic and New England were likely to see highs in the 90s as the week progresses. Excessive humidity will make it feel even more oppressive.

A dangerous heatwave was building over parts of the western United States on with forecasters warning of rocketing temperatures in an early taste of a possibly brutal summer for the region. The mercury was expected to top out at well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), with some areas experiencing highs as much as 30 degrees above normal for this time of year. (Photo by David SWANSON / AFP)(AFP)
A dangerous heatwave was building over parts of the western United States on with forecasters warning of rocketing temperatures in an early taste of a possibly brutal summer for the region. The mercury was expected to top out at well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), with some areas experiencing highs as much as 30 degrees above normal for this time of year. (Photo by David SWANSON / AFP)(AFP)

Last year, the U.S. experienced its most heat waves, consisting of abnormally hot weather lasting more than two days, since 1936. Officials again warned residents to take precautions.

Much of the Midwest and Northeast were under heat warnings or watches.

The heat has been especially dangerous in recent years in Phoenix, where 645 people died from heat-related causes in 2023, which was a record. Temperatures there hit 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44 Celsius) on Saturday. Weather service forecasters say the first two weeks of June in Phoenix have been an average of 5.6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than normal — the hottest start to June on record there.

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A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, Ted Whittock, advised reducing time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., staying hydrated and wearing light, looser fitting clothing. More than 100 cooling centers were open in the city and surrounding county, including two new overnight ones.

Mid-Atlantic and New England brace for 90°F+ temps as heat wave moves east

In neighboring New Mexico, the high in Roswell was expected to hit 107 F (42 C) on Monday, while temperatures in southern Colorado were expected to surpass 100 degrees (38 C).

In Southern California, firefighters increased their containment of a large wildfire in mountains north of Los Angeles on Monday after a weekend of explosive, wind-driven growth along Interstate 5.

The warming temperatures come amid growing concern about the effects of extreme heat and wildfire smoke. The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity on Monday sent a petition to the Federal Emergency Management Agency asking it to recognize extreme heat and wildfire smoke as major disasters.

The agency did not immediately issue a specific response to the petition. A FEMA spokesperson for the western U.S. states said there was nothing that would preclude an emergency declaration for extreme heat, but noted that there would need to be an immediate threat to life and safety that local authorities could not respond to.

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While much of the U.S. swelters, late-season snow was forecast for the northern Rockies on Monday and Tuesday. Parts of Montana and north-central Idaho were under a winter storm warning. As much as 20 inches (51 centimeters) was predicted for higher elevations around Glacier National Park.

Meanwhile, a fresh batch of tropical moisture was bringing an increasing threat of heavy rain and flash flooding to the central Gulf Coast.

Hurricane season this year is forecast to be among the most active in recent memory.

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