Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The southern United States is suffocating under a dangerous heat wave

Several tens of millions of Americans suffered dangerously high temperatures on Friday, July 14. It is a strong heat wave from California (West Coast) to Texas, and to certain parts of Florida (East Coast).

A heat dome has hit the southwestern desert states since the beginning of the week, causing serious health risks for the elderly, construction workers, delivery people, the homeless…

The heat dome is a meteorological phenomenon linked to the presence of a blocking anticyclone that persists in the same place, causing the stagnation of hot air masses. This high pressure zone also favors the descent of air which, under the effect of compression, heats the atmosphere. As the trapped heat continues to heat up, the system acts like the lid on a frying pan.

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In Arizona, one of the hardest-hit states, everyday life now feels like a marathon against the heat. Phoenix, the state capital, recorded its 15th consecutive day above 43°C on Friday, according to the US weather service NWS. Several concerts have been cancelled. This week on social media, some residents posted photos of melting tar on their roofs or videos of them cooking an egg on their manhole covers.

Authorities recommend avoiding outdoor activities during the day and watching for signs of dehydration, which can quickly become fatal in such temperatures. tell yourself that “It’s the desert, of course it’s hot” This “a dangerous state of mind!” »insists since Tuesday the NWS of Las Vegas On twitter.

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no respite in sight

“The most intense period” of this heat wave “begin” this weekend, forecasters warned. In California, in the famous Death Valley, one of the hottest places on the planet, the mercury could approach 54°C on Sunday. And forecasters aren’t predicting any respite yet: temperatures are expected to remain abnormally high next week in the south of the country.

Invisible, unlike floods and fires, heat is the deadliest weather event in the United States. However, the problem is often underestimated. Scorching temperatures last weekend killed ten migrants along the border with Mexico, according to CBP border police.

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Last week, Maricopa County, the most populous in Arizona, released a report counting 425 heat deaths in the summer of 2022, 25% more than the previous year.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Climate change: the American West on the front line

It is always difficult to attribute a particular weather phenomenon to climate change, but scientists insist that global warming, linked to humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels, is responsible for the multiplication and intensification of heat waves around the world.

The heat wave comes as the world experienced its hottest June on record, according to the Copernicus climate change observatory.

The world with AFP

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