As the scorching month of July comes to an end, the United States is grappling with record-breaking heatwaves that have affected over 70 million people.
With temperatures soaring to unprecedented highs of 115 degrees or more, vast regions in the southern plains and Southeast remain under heat alerts, with relentless heat advisories and excessive heat warnings spanning more than 10 states, from Texas to Florida, as reported by the National Weather Service.
Today is the 17th day this year Phoenix has hit 115°+. The previous record was 14 days set in 2020. It is also the 6th consecutive day of 115°+ temperatures, which ties the previous record set earlier this month (7/17-7/22) and in June of 2021 (6/15-6/20). #azwx pic.twitter.com/li52P4CBev
— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) July 29, 2023
The impact of the extreme heat has been severe, with the Southwest witnessing an alarming 30 consecutive days of temperatures above 110 degrees in Phoenix.
Saturday marked the 17th day this year alone that temperatures soared to a sweltering 115 degrees, surpassing the previous record set in 2020. While some reprieve is expected with slightly lower temperatures returning to the region, the damage has already taken a toll, with cactuses collapsing under the heat and dehydrated animals requiring urgent rehabilitation.
Tragically, the heatwave has claimed lives, underscoring the danger posed by such extreme weather conditions. Reports indicate a 53-year-old woman in Illinois and a 66-year-old woman in Texas lost their lives due to the heatwave’s intensity, highlighting the urgency for measures to protect vulnerable populations.
As hospitalizations related to heat-related illnesses increase, healthcare professionals in Arizona are treating patients with burns resulting from simply falling on the hot ground. The situation has raised concerns among health authorities who are urging the public to take necessary precautions.
Amid these unprecedented conditions, the National Weather Service warns that record hot highs and warm minimum temperatures are likely to persist in several regions, posing significant risks to public health.
To mitigate heat-related illnesses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises individuals to seek shelter in cool indoor areas, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, and regularly check on vulnerable individuals, including young children and the elderly.
This relentless heatwave has also caught the attention of scientists who confirm that July is the planet’s hottest month on record, surpassing any temperatures observed in the past 120,000 years. They link this extreme heat to human-induced climate change, raising urgent concerns about the need for immediate and sustained action to combat the impact of global warming.
As the nation grapples with the consequences of this historic heatwave, authorities are emphasizing the importance of climate change mitigation strategies and individual responsibility in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With extreme heat events becoming more frequent and intense, taking proactive steps to address the climate crisis has never been more crucial.
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