Some 34 states faced record temperatures on Saturday as a relentless heat wave stretched from the Texas Panhandle to northern Maine.
The National Weather Service said a “dangerous heat wave”
would continue through Sunday in the Eastern U.S., while strong and severe
thunderstorms were expected to cool off the Midwest and Upper Great Lakes by
Sunday, although the storms brought their own risks.
East Coast residents, however, could see oppressively high
temperatures until Monday.
High temperatures and humidity mean that heat indexes
115 degrees in some areas, The New
York Times reported.
Some 157 million people were
under heat advisories on Saturday, according to CNN.
In New York City, officials set up 500 cooling centers, which you can see here. They also canceled
a triathlon and other events, and urged building owners to conserve energy
by keeping thermostats at a minimum of 78 degrees in an effort to prevent
another massive power outage like
the one that happened last weekend.
In Chicago, heat warnings were issued until 8 p.m. on
Saturday, and the maximum
heat index hit about 110 degrees. The National Weather Service warned,
however, that the “main risk for this afternoon will be wind and heavy rain,”
the Chicago Tribune reported.
Several outdoor events planned for Saturday were
canceled, including a 5K run. At the Pitchfork Music Festival, which
started on Friday, organizers provided three city transit “cooling” buses
and urged concertgoers to drink a lot of water.
In Detroit, some 200,000 residents were without power
early Saturday morning due to downed power lines from the previous night’s storms,
At least three deaths this week have been attributed to the
ongoing heat wave. NBC News reported that two people died
from extreme heat this week in Maryland, while former New York Giants
offensive lineman Mitch Petrus died Thursday of heatstroke in Arkansas. Two
other Maryland residents died due to heat-related causes earlier this month.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged
Marylanders on Friday to “head to air-conditioned spaces as temperatures
peak this afternoon.”
According to a recent report
by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “extreme heat days are poised to rise
steeply in frequency and severity in just the next few decades. This heat would
cause large areas of the United States to become dangerously hot and would
threaten the health, lives, and livelihoods of millions of people.”
The analysis found that if no action is taken to reduce
dangerous, heat-trapping emissions, by mid-century (2036-2065) in the U.S., “The
average number of days per year with a heat index above 100°F will more than
double, while the number of days per year above 105°F will quadruple.”
Additionally, about “one-third of the nation’s 481 urban
areas with a population of 50,000 people or more will experience an average of
30 or more days per year with a heat index above 105°F, a rise from just three
cities historically,” the report said.