A wave of “extreme heat” hit tens of millions of Americans this weekend, with many temperature records expected in the central and northeast, while a major wildfire affected California.
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“Extreme heat will continue across the central United States and spread to the northeast this weekend, with many temperature records expected to be set today (Saturday) and Sunday across the region” , announced the National Weather Service (NWS).
"This heat will fuel severe weather across the northern Midwest today (Saturday), with a significant threat of damaging winds, large hailstones and a few tornadoes," the NWS continued on its bulletin.
The sweltering heat, which shows the threat posed by global warming, was particularly felt in the capital Washington, where temperatures could flirt with the symbolic bar of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 to 38 degrees Celsius). New York was not spared, with temperatures close to 35 degrees.
The temperature could also feel like 43 degrees in parts of Utah (west), Arizona (south) and the northeast, according to NWS.
In Boston, where Mayor Michelle Wu has declared a "heat-related state of emergency", providing for the opening of municipal places to cool off and swimming pools open longer, it could be 37 degrees on Sunday.
This heat increases the risk of fire. In the western United States, a major forest fire, "Oak Fire", broke out on Friday in Mariposa County, near Yosemite National Park, whose giant sequoias had already been threatened by fire there ten days ago.
Spread over an area of more than 2500 hectares, "Oak Fire" has already destroyed ten properties and damaged five others. It is not under control at all, according to a Saturday morning bulletin from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The American West has already experienced wildfires of exceptional magnitude and intensity in recent years, with a very marked lengthening of the fire season.
The planet has already recorded several heat waves this year, such as in July in Western Europe or in India in March-April. Their multiplication is an unmistakable sign of climate change, according to scientists.
In June 2021, an extremely rare “heat dome” wreaked havoc across the west coast of the United States and Canada, killing more than 500 people and causing major fires, with temperatures approaching 50 degrees.