April 24, 2024

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‘Extremely dangerous’ heat wave suffocates US

‘Extremely dangerous’ heat wave suffocates US

Much of the US West and South America is being hammered by an “extremely dangerous” heat wave this weekend, with the mercury reaching 47°C in some cities, according to weather services.

• Read more: Heat waves across the globe: Maximum temperatures expected on Saturday

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“An oppressive and potentially dangerous heat wave is expected to hit parts of the West and South this weekend,” the National Weather Service (NWS) warned in a bulletin Saturday morning.

“Multiple record temperatures are possible and air quality issues will be common in many parts of the United States,” the NWS further estimates.

More than 90 million Americans under high-temperature warning may not get a break anytime soon as heat dome ‘sets up’ [de ces régions] for the next few days”, the NWS predicted.

In Phoenix, Arizona, a city in the southwestern United States, a late afternoon high of 47°C is expected to reach 16e day in a row above 43°C.

Part of the state is under a “magenta” alert, the NWS’s highest warning level for “rare and/or prolonged extreme heat conditions.”

A different wave

In Southern California, firefighters have been battling several violent blazes since Friday, which have destroyed more than 1,214 hectares and prompted evacuations.

Daniel Swain, a climatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the mercury in Death Valley could equal or exceed the highest air temperature ever reliably measured on Earth, at 54.4 degrees Celsius recorded at the same location in 2020 and 2021. For many experts.

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“This heat wave is not typical of desert heat due to its long duration, extreme daytime temperatures and hot nights,” the Las Vegas branch of the NWS tweeted, adding that “everyone should take this heat wave seriously, including those who live in the desert.”

In Texas, energy supplier Reliant Energy is asking residents of the major city of Houston to limit their electricity use to reduce stress on the power grid.

VAT News

Other parts of the United States, for their part, are at risk of severe weather.

According to the NWS, “Severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding are possible in many places, especially and unfortunately in New England, which has already been saturated by recent rains”.

This part of the northeastern part of the country, particularly the state of Vermont, suffered “historic and catastrophic” flooding this week, the result of torrential rains.

‘No Rest’

In Canada, the number of fires continues to rise, especially in the western part of the country, where several hundred fires have been recorded in a few days, mainly fueled by thunderstorms.

“We’re seeing worse figures this year than our most pessimistic scenarios,” Yann Boulanger, a researcher at the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources, told AFP.

“It’s absolutely crazy that there’s been no respite since the beginning of May,” analyzes this wildfire expert.

More than 10 million hectares have already been smoged across the country – 11 times the average over the past decade.

The absolute annual record – set at 7.3 million hectares in 1989 – has already been largely exceeded.

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In total, the country has counted 4,088 fires since January, many of which have reached hundreds of thousands of hectares. More than 150,000 people were displaced.

The impact is also being felt in neighboring states to the south, with several North American states such as Montana and North Dakota recording “adverse” air quality from wildfire smoke.

Experts say greenhouse gas emissions increase the strength, duration and recurrence rate of heat waves.

“Heat waves are occurring more frequently than ever in major U.S. cities,” notes the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

“Their frequency continues to increase, from an average of two heat waves per year in the 1960s to six per year in the 2010s and 2020s,” he says.