Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Record-breaking heat suspected in at least 7 deaths as temperatures soar across U.S.

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The sweltering heat wave gripping parts of the U.S. has shattered heat records and sparked an air quality health advisory, and it is suspected of having contributed to at least seven deaths.

More than 130 million people across the West, the East Coast, southeast Texas and South Florida were under heat alerts Tuesday, and a huge swath of the Western U.S. sweltered in “red flag” conditions because of the risk of wildfires.

In New York City’s Central Park, the heat index made it feel like 96 degrees, the National Weather Service said. At Newark Liberty International Airport in nearby New Jersey, the number was 103.

In the metro New York City and Lower Hudson Valley area, an air quality health advisory was also in effect until 11 p.m.

At least seven deaths in the Western U.S. are suspected of having been caused by the extreme heat, officials said. Five people have died in Oregon since Friday, and those deaths are being investigated as possibly being heat-related, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

In Death Valley, California, a motorcyclist died of suspected heat exposure and another was hospitalized for severe heat illness Saturday. Another man, Kevin Gerhardt, of Sacramento, died Sunday because of the heat, NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento reported.

In Skagit County, Washington, the surface of the road buckled because of the searing temperatures. Crews over the weekend fixed the “heat heave,” the state Transportation Department said.

The hot weather is expected to break across the Pacific Northwest by Thursday and the West by the weekend. The heat and humidity, however, will remain for the East throughout the rest of the week and into the weekend.

Las Vegas reached 117 degrees Tuesday, breaking a daily record that was set in 2021, the weather service there said.

It was so hot in Phoenix on Tuesday that the low at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport was forecast to be 91 degrees. It was 115 degrees there at around 5 p.m. On Monday, Phoenix’s recorded 118-degree temperature broke a record high for July 8. The previous record for that date, 115 degrees, was set in 1985, the weather service said on X.

Heat records will continue to be broken over the next few days, according to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, which said high temperatures will 10 to 30 degrees above average.

Parts of California were under excessive heat warnings until Friday night. Forecasters warned that the Sacramento Valley will have high temperatures of 105 to 113 degrees.

Salt Lake City was under an excessive heat warning until midnight Saturday, with highs of 100 to 105 degrees each afternoon, the weather service said.

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