US heatwave continues with 270 million people affected 

A heat wave is pushing temperatures beyond 90F (32C) across the Midwest and Northeast this week, with approximately 270 million people impacted by the extremely high temperatures. 

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), these high temperatures, commencing from Sunday, may persist until early next week. “The prolonged nature of this heat wave is notable and could be the longest in decades for some locations,” remarked the NWS.

The Detroit metropolitan area is bracing for its most severe heat wave in over two decades, as an atmospheric heat dome settles over a vast expanse of the country, affecting numerous major cities including New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, DC.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is anticipated to shatter its previous record of a six-day heat wave set in 1994, with temperatures expected to soar into the mid-90s, and the heat index peaking at 110F (43C).

Meanwhile, New York City anticipates its first heat wave since September, with temperatures surging above 90F starting Thursday.

Upstate New York is under a heat advisory until Thursday evening, with the heat index forecasted to exceed 100F, according to NWS projections. Governor Kathy Hochul has activated the National Guard to aid in managing heat-related emergencies.

Chicago expects temperatures in the 90s throughout the remainder of the week. The Washington, DC area also faces temperatures nearing 100F (37C) and a heat index of 103F (39C).

In the Midwest, western Illinois will also experience a heat index of 100F on Tuesday. Additionally, Chicago broke a temperature record dating back to 1957 on Monday, reaching a high of 97F (36C).

Heat waves are a risk to vulnerable groups such as young children, the elderly, outdoor workers, and the homeless. In 2023, over 2,300 heat-related deaths were reported in the US, marking the highest number in 45 years, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The escalating climate crisis is intensifying the frequency and severity of heat waves globally, including in the US. Scientists warn that 2024 has a high probability of becoming the hottest year on record worldwide, following the unprecedented heat of 2023.

While the Eastern US grapples with dangerous heat, the Western US battles fierce wildfires. As of Tuesday afternoon, California is contending with more than a dozen large fires, as reported by Cal Fire, with six posing substantial threats.

The Post Fire, currently the largest in the state, has already consumed approximately 15,000 acres near Los Angeles and is 24% contained. High winds are exacerbating the fires, leading to the evacuation of over 1,000 people from a nearby camping area, according to Cal Fire officials.

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