About 145 million people across the central US are facing wilting temperatures this week from another massive heat wave that will tax energy grids and raise health risks from Minnesota to the Gulf Coast.
(Bloomberg) — About 145 million people across the central US are facing wilting temperatures this week from another massive heat wave that will tax energy grids and raise health risks from Minnesota to the Gulf Coast.
The heat is already smashing records dating back more than a century, and temperatures are forecast to reach 100F degrees (38C) or more from Minneapolis in the north to Dallas in the south Tuesday. Triple-digit readings will spread even further on Wednesday and Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
A vast swath of the central US reached 100F Monday, with Anadarko, Oklahoma, posting the highest temperature in the contiguous US at 110F. Broken Bow, Nebraska was 101, a record for the day beating the old mark of 99 set in 1910, and Wichita, Kansas reported temperatures of 106F, surpassing a record from 1896.
The heat will tax electric grids as millions turn up air conditioners to stay cool, and it can also slow trains and delay flights. On the upside, high temperatures sometimes help retailers by driving people into stores.
Read more: Crop Worries Return as Midwest Braces for 115-Degree Heat
About 67 million people are currently under excessive heat warnings and another 48 million under less severe heat advisories, according to the weather services. Another 30 million are under excessive heat watches, meaning severe temperatures are on the way.
Chicago may reach 97F later in the week, Indianapolis is forecast to reach 99F and Atlanta should reach 98F. In addition to the heat, humidity will make it feel much hotter; the heat index in Minneapolis may reach 116F Tuesday.
A ridge of high pressure has focused mainly on the southern and central US this summer, pushing temperatures to extremes, said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the Weather Prediction Center. Many areas should have already seen the hottest days of the year, but this high pressure means the worst may still be yet to come for some places. However, a front moving north to south may lead to more moderate temperatures later in the week.
“It’s kind of late to have such a high-amplitude system,” Oravec said. “It has been somewhat persistent.”
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