More than 85 million Americans were under heat advisories this weekend as temperature records were smashed in cities across the eastern United States, the National Weather Service said Sunday.
Cities including Boston; Providence, Rhode Island, and Manchester, New Hampshire, exceeded or tied decades or nearly century-old temperature records Sunday and parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri were warned that 100+ F days were likely to continue into the middle of this week. Residents of Newark, New Jersey, suffered through five straight days of triple-digit weather.
“The ‘Dog Days of Summer’ are unquestionably here,” the Weather Prediction Center wrote Sunday. “In terms of actual high temps, look for daytime max temps to eclipse the century mark in the Central Plains and record-breaking high temps from the Central Plains to the Northeast today. Sunday grows even hotter in the Northeast with some locations reaching 100 for highs, and heat indices as high as 110 degrees. As if the daytime highs weren’t hot enough on Sunday, record warm morning lows will offer little relief.”
Temperatures for millions of people felt even hotter, officials said, noting the heat index — what the temperature feels like due to high humidity levels — had created what it referred to as a “Sultry Sunday.”
Authorities reported at least two deaths related to the heat, warning more could be reported, the Associated Press said. And officials in Boston were forced to postpone the city’s triathlon until next month due to what it called a “heat emergency.”
The heat wave is expected to cool down in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, but other parts of America are set to boil in the coming days. Weather officials warned of possible record-breaking temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, saying already high temperatures were expected to “steadily rise over the next few days leading to the possibility for records to be broken.”
Thermostats could reach similar levels to those during last year’s deadly heat wave that left hundreds dead across multiple states, the AP reported.
The blistering weather — and the ongoing frequency of temperature extremes — is yet another reminder of the changing climate, even as Congress fails to act on meaningful legislation to rein in carbon emissions.
Those effects are already being felt in the U.S. and beyond. In California, long home to intense heat waves and drought, an “explosive” forest fire, the Oak Fire, was burning near Yosemite, tearing through a tinderbox of dry vegetation and forcing thousands to flee remote communities.
Alaska has seen wildfires the state has never seen before. Temperatures in the Middle East are rising faster than anywhere else. Droughts, storms and flooding have begun ravaging every corner of the world with increased frequency.
Former Vice President Al Gore addressed the world’s infatuation with fossil fuels in an interview with ABC’ “This Week” on Sunday, saying the planet had used “our atmosphere as an open sewer.”
“That’s why the heat records are being broken all the time now,” he said. “That’s why the storms are stronger, why the ice is melting and the sea levels rising and why the droughts and fires are hitting us so hard and so many other consequences.”