Factbox-From Hawaii to North Carolina, a mix of severe weather

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) -Severe weather disrupted parts of the United States on Wednesday, with a tropical storm skirting Hawaii, a tornado ripping over a North Carolina pharmaceutical plant and a relentless heat wave broiling the country’s southern tier.

Poor air quality, which threatened to cause health issues for millions of Americans over the last few days, lifted in many places. But air heavily laced with smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning in Canada lingered in scattered locations.


Some 80 million Americans remained under excessive heat warnings, watches and advisories on Wednesday as a prolonged and dangerous heat dome hung over a swath of the country stretching from Southern California to the Deep South.

The blazing hot afternoon temperatures were expected to reach as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius) in San Bernardino, California, 108 F (42 C) in Las Vegas and 104 F (41 C) in San Antonio, Texas, the National Weather Service said.

Phoenix notched its 20th straight day with temperatures of 110 degrees F or higher, with the mercury hitting 117 F by 2:30 p.m. local time. On Tuesday the city broke the record with its 19th consecutive scorcher.


Everbridge, a leading provider of emergency notification services, has issued 50% more heatwave alerts to the public in 2023 compared to last year, according to its vice president for global public safety, Brian Toolan.

Typical heatwaves used to last only a few days, Toolan said, but “now we’re seeing ten, 15, 20 days of that same exact weather. We’re just not prepared for that.”


In Texas, at least nine inmates in prisons without air conditioning have died of heart attacks this summer, the Texas Tribune reported. Another 14 have died due to unknown causes during periods of extreme heat, the Austin newspaper found.

On Tuesday during a rally in Austin, the state capital, family members and advocates called on lawmakers to install air conditioning in all state prisons. Currently, only 31 of 100 lockups are fully air-conditioned, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

A department spokesperson said preliminary findings of the deaths indicate heat was not a factor in any of the fatalities.


In the Hawaiian Islands, Tropical Storm Calvin lashed the Big Island on Wednesday with strong winds and heavy downpours as it slowly passed south of the Pacific archipelago. The storm was expected to dump as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of rain as it packed winds of up to 60 miles (97 km) per hour.

The storm could cause flash flooding, dangerous surf and mudslides, the weather service said. Hawaii Governor Josh Green declared a state of emergency, closing all state offices and schools.


Although most air quality alerts across the nation expired on Wednesday morning, smoke from Canadian wildfires drifting across the United States caused poor conditions in several spots in Virginia, the Carolinas and along the East Coast.

Forecasters urged people who have respiratory illnesses, the elderly and children to reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

New York, the most populous city in the United States, was listed on Wednesday morning as No. 6 on a list of major cities around the world with the worst air quality, according to IQAir.com, a website that tracks global pollution.


In western Tennessee and Kentucky, about 90,000 homes and businesses were without power after several rounds of prolific thunderstorms knocked down power lines and trees across the area overnight and into Wednesday morning, according to .

A tornado hit northeastern North Carolina around 12:30 p.m. EDT, damaging a Pfizer manufacturing facility and sending several people to the hospital with injuries, according to private forecaster AccuWeather.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Daniel Wallis)