On Independence Day, more than 150 million people in the United States are under heat alert

On Independence Day, more than 150 million people in the United States are under heat alert
On Independence Day, more than 150 million people in the United States are under heat alert
National Weather Service warns of temperatures of up to 46°C in the southwestern United States (Illustrative image Infobae).

An extremely intense and powerful heat wave is hitting the United States, affecting more than 150 million people who were under alert on Thursday, July 4, as detailed The Guardian. Temperatures, driven by a ridge of high pressure on the west coast and another in the center of the country, are expected to reach up to 46°C (115°F) in areas of the Southwest, California and part of Oregon, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). This extreme heat event coincides with the celebrations of Independence Day, increasing health and wildfire risks in several regions.

NWS experts warn that higher nighttime temperatures and longer duration will increase the danger, posing additional risks to public health and the rapid spread of wildfires. “This will be a severe, prolonged and potentially record-breaking heat wave,” said climate scientist Dr. Daniel Swain during a recent discussion.

High temperatures will spread northward to regions such as Oregon and Washington. Cities in Las Vegas and Redding, Californiacould set new all-time heat records. “Dozens of heat records are possible, demonstrating the rarity of this early July heat wave,” NWS meteorologists said.

In addition to extreme daytime temperatures, the event also includes Record overnight temperatureswhich will add heat stress to people without adequate cooling. “The buildup of intense and long-lasting heat in the West will be extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening if not taken seriously,” federal meteorologists say. NWS.

Extreme heat coincides with July 4th celebrations (Illustrative Image Infobae)

During July 4th celebrations, when the use of fireworks, barbecues and other flammable materials is common, the risk of forest fires increases significantly. Firefighters in California are already battling several fires, specifically one burning near Oroville that has affected more than 1,200 hectaresforcing the evacuation of almost 30,000 residentsThe combination of heat and strong, dry winds has led to the Pacific Gas & Electric utility company to implement safety power shut-offs in 10 counties to prevent ignition caused by downed power lines.

In areas such as the San Francisco Bay Areawhere many homes and businesses do not have air conditioning, the intense heat is making matters worse. NWS Bay Area meteorologists warned that “we are very likely to see a number of heat-related deaths during this event,” emphasizing that homeless people and those without access to cooling “may not be able to escape the deadly heat.”

The extended heatwave coincides with worrying predictions about the climate crisis. Experts suggest that 2024 could become the hottest year on record. Episodes of extreme heat are expected to occur more frequently and with greater intensity. “This week’s weather is part of a worrying trend,” say climate researchers, who predict more long and severe heatwaves due to global warming.

Extreme heat not only threatens people in the hardest hit areas; it also poses a significant risk to residents of normally temperate places who are not accustomed to such high temperatures. Over the next few months, the drying of landscapes and vegetation will intensify the threat of extreme heat, experts say. active wildfire season.

He Dr. Daniel Swain He stressed during his speech that this heat wave has the potential to set new temperature records and cause great damage. “It is crucial that communities prepare and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the heat,” he added.

He NWS The agency urged residents to stay hydrated, stay indoors with air conditioning when possible and check on vulnerable neighbors. The agency stressed the importance of avoiding outdoor activities during the hottest hours of the day and reducing consumption of alcohol or dehydrating beverages during the holidays.

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