A mechanic works on a neighbour's vehicle during a heatwave in Houston. (AFP Photo)
Millions of people in over two dozen states in the United States will experience record-breaking temperature over the weekend, according to forecast made by National Weather Service (NWS). More worryingly, millions in the south-central US are expected to experience readings in triple digits. The distressing heatwave, stretching across both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, has pushed state leaders to urge people to reduce power consumption. Temperatures in parts of US have soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), topping 110 degrees in some areas.
"Record-breaking heat is expected over the Northeast US this weekend, while above-average temps persist in the South Central US. Early next week, an upper level high will build over the Pacific NW, establishing a multi-day heat wave w/ temps reaching 10-15F above normal," the NWS said on Twitter.
Washington and Philadelphia have both declared heat emergencies, and warned their residents to remain vigilant. "Stay hydrated, limit sun exposure, and check on seniors, neighbors & pets," Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Twitter.
The devastating heat - which has also hit Europe, causing hundreds of deaths there - highlights the direct threat climate change poses to even the wealthiest countries on the planet.
Dallas County, in Texas, reported its first heat-related death of the year on Thursday, CNN said in a news report. The local health agency said that the 66-year-old woman had underlying health conditions, the outlet further said.
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The heatwave has also caused a flash drought in southern and central plains of America.
Temperatures have also soared in Europe, setting a new all-time record in Britain, where the national weather service clocked 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit in eastern England, surpassing the previous high set in 2019.
Unlike much of Western Europe, most homes in the US have air conditioning, helping to mitigate the heatwave's health risks, but adding strain on the power grid in times of high usage.
Scientists have warned that heatwaves like the ones being felt in the two continents will become more frequent and rise in intensity due to global warming.