Home Society Extreme heat in southern US breaks one record after another

Extreme heat in southern US breaks one record after another

Extreme heat in the southern US, in the states of Texas and New Mexico, is breaking record after record, testing residents’ endurance to the limit. The heat, sometimes reaching 48 degrees during the day, is not the only problem in this regard. The high nighttime temperatures add to it. There is no escape.

A high-pressure area, filled to a high altitude with hot air, is the culprit. It seems to stay in place for the next while, so the scorching heat persists. Such a high-pressure area is also known as a heat dome (heat dome in the US). Because the air high in the atmosphere is so hot, the air below it – at the Earth’s surface – cannot leave and continues to heat up. In this way, extreme temperatures can be reached.
Record warm nights too

In recent days, a father and son were killed while hiking in a nature reserve as the mercury rose to 48 degrees. Even in a million-dollar city like Houston, it can now reach 46 degrees. Record high temperatures are also being touched in the nights. Here and there, the mercury does not go below 28 degrees, and that is at official observation stations. In urban areas, the mercury may not get below 30 degrees at all. You cannot cool down properly then. Your body does not get rid of its heat. This can lead to heart failure and other heat-related problems.

To keep the heat out, everyone who has one turns on the air conditioner in the house. Electricity demand reached record highs in heat regions in recent days. Unlike during previous heat waves, the grid still held up. Still, the danger of power cuts is always lurking. As the heat looks set to continue for some time to come, the same is certainly true for the period ahead.

Steady high-pressure areas with high temperatures are a phenomenon that comes with the Earth’s changing climate. They seem to be increasingly common. Examples include the extreme heatwave in Europe in the summer of 2003, when an estimated 30,000 people died prematurely due to the heat. In India, heat killed an estimated 2,000 people in 2015. It reached 47 degrees in some places then. In Delhi, it was so hot that the asphalt of some roads began to melt spontaneously. Earlier in 1995, heat killed 700 people in Chicago. It reached 38 degrees then, but it felt like 50 degrees because of the high humidity that accompanied the heat.

About the author: Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson, a small tech business owner retired and found his passion in journalism.

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