The heat wave caused by climate change is unprecedented in timing, intensity and magnitude The U.S. West has been hit by a heat wave so intense that people can barely stand it.
Millions of running air conditioners have damaged the electrical grid, forcing utilities in Texas and California to threaten shutdowns. The National Weather Service in Las Vegas tweeted that residents were urged to avoid dehydration and not to go outside during the day without needing to, “Extended heat waves are deadly,” the announcement said. Doctors from Palm Springs to Phoenix warn that the sidewalk is so scalding it can cause third-degree burns.
Caused by climate change, the first major summer heat wave has engulfed the western United States, breaking all records and endangering lives. According to University of Washington climate scientist Deepti Singh, the event is unprecedented in timing, intensity and scale: never before have such severe conditions been recorded over such a large area in such an early summer.
At least four weather stations, including Salt Lake City, showed record high temperatures this week, months before the hottest part of the season. Las Vegas set a new daily record of 46 degrees Celsius. In Death Valley, thermometers show 52 degrees.
More than 40 million people in the western states must endure an attack of hot conditions. Many suffer from dizziness, nausea and vomiting as the heat makes their skin burn. Those with chronic heart and respiratory problems have had exacerbations.