Heat waves are intensifying throughout the western United States in a record drought

People are watching the sunset from a water bottle on June 15, 2021, in Los Angeles, California, as the temperature rises due to the early heat waves of the season.

Frederick J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Extreme heat waves hitting the western United States intensify and spread this week, creating a dangerous situation in the worst drought of the last two decades. Raise concerns about serious wildfires And electrical grid failures.

More than 40 million people in the country are projected to experience triple-digit temperatures this week, and about 200 million are projected to experience temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. More than three-quarters of the west have been hit by severe droughts, according to US drought monitors.

Temperatures in some areas Can exceed 120 degrees, And overheat warnings are in place in some states. Record temperatures of 125 and 128 degrees Celsius are expected in Nevada and Arizona, respectively.

Grant Mohn of Las Vegas is about to fried eggs on August 17, 2020, in the parking lot of Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, 279 feet above sea level in Death Valley National Park, California, USA.

David Becker | Reuters

Drought and heat waves create a “perfect storm” for fires and poor air quality, said Rupa Bass, head of air and climate epidemiology at the California Department of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Temperatures this week are expected to remain high all night, and this trend is Climate change, Because the temperature of the earth is not rising evenly.

“Heat waves are increasingly likely to break records, boosted by climate change steroids,” said Alexander Gerschnov, a research meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

Heat waves also become humid, and hot, saturated air is dangerous because it makes it difficult for people to cool. Humidity is also likely to cause thunderstorms, Gerschnov said, which increases the likelihood of lightning strikes.

The temperature at night is low Usually provides relief after the hot days disappearCreates a dangerous combination of high daytime and high nighttime temperatures, where people do not offer the opportunity to cool down at night.

The two Arizona Intake Towers are on display at Hoover Dam on June 15, 2021 at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

“At peak times, save energy, avoid excessive time outdoors, do particularly intense activities and exercise, drink plenty of water and take a walk. [or] If possible, use a bicycle instead of a car for transportation. “

The high temperatures in areas that rely on air conditioning can cause grid failures and risk people’s inability to escape heat.

Grid operators in Texas and California have called on residents to limit their use of electricity to avoid a power outage this week.High temperature in Texas Already causing many mechanical problems at the power plant — Just four months after the deadly winter storm, millions of people have lost their power.

On April 21, 2021, you can see the dry, cracked land along the shores of Lake Phoenix in Los Angeles, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Wildfires also ignited earlier this year due to the hot, dry temperatures and the large supply of dry brushes.As of Wednesday, there are 33 big flames Burned over 360,000 acres In 10 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Globally, each decade of the last half century is hotter than before, and 2020 is tied to 2016 As the hottest year on record.

Global warming is also in the southwestern United States Megadrought for decadesAbove all, it has resulted in reduced snow levels, lake and river levels, and groundwater availability.

Heat waves are intensifying throughout the western United States in a record drought

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