After scorching heat suffocated large swathes of the United States this weekend, the next few days are expected to bring more moderate temperatures to northeastern regions, while scorching weather in the Pacific Northwest s will intensify.
The oppressive heat broke daily high temperature records on Sunday in several towns in the northeast – prompting local authorities to declare thermal emergencies.
Newark Liberty International Airport hit a high of 102 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the previous July 24 record set in 2010 of 99 degrees. In Boston, temperatures reached 100 degrees, surpassing the previous record of 98 degrees, set in 1933.
Providence, Rhode Island, reached 98 degrees, similarly breaking a record of 94 set in 1933. And Philadelphia reached 99 degrees, narrowly surpassing its record set in 2011 of 98 degrees.
More than 60 million people across the United States are still under heat alert Monday morning as high temperatures persist, primarily in the Northeast, Central United States, and Pacific Northwest.
New York, Newark and Boston remain under heat advisories through Monday evening as heat index values could climb further into the upper 90s. Philadelphia is under an excessive heat warning through Monday evening, with heat index readings expected to reach up to 100 degrees. But after Tuesday, temperatures in the northeast will begin to drop closer to normal levels.
Meanwhile, parts of the Pacific Northwest – which had a much cooler start to the year than their eastern counterparts – are experiencing several excessive heat watches on Monday that could be upgraded to heat warnings throughout the day. These high temperatures are expected to last all week and may continue into next week.
“Daytime highs will exceed 90 each day and even eclipse the century mark in the Columbia River Gorge and Columbia River Basin,” the Weather Prediction Center said. “Daily records will likely be broken from Northern California to the Portland and Seattle metro areas on Tuesday.”
Seattle is under a heat advisory from Tuesday noon through Friday evening, and Portland is under an excessive heat warning Monday through Thursday evening with high temperatures between 98 and 103 degrees expected.
Cities across the Central Plains – including Dallas, Oklahoma City, Shreveport, Louisiana; Memphis, TN; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Springfield, Missouri, also find themselves under heat advisories on Monday, with high temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s and into at least triple digits by midweek.
Excessive heat warnings are in effect in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Fort Smith, Arkansas, where heat index values could reach 112 degrees.
The weekend saw scorching temperatures that put more than 90 million people under excessive heat alerts on Sunday in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio River Valley and Central Plains.
Cities that were baking in the prolonged heat took steps to provide relief measures, including cooling stations, wading pools and additional outreach activities for those homeless.
Concern for participant safety has prompted New York City Triathlon organizers to drastically reduce race distances and encourage athletes to stay hydrated. Boston’s annual triathlon event has been postponed to next month due to the city’s scorching heat.
Boston and Philadelphia have extended their heat-related emergency warnings through Monday, warning residents to take steps to avoid heat-related illnesses, as heat indices — a measure of how hot they feel due to heat and humidity combined – should be in the 90s.
“As we extend the heat emergency for the second time, it is clear that climate change is a public health risk to our city,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement. “I am grateful to the many City employees who helped us through the first part of this emergency and I urge residents to continue to take care of each other.”
Excessive heat poses real health risks, especially for high-risk groups like the elderly, children, and people with chronic illnesses and mental health issues, according to the CDC. When people’s bodies fail to cool enough or lose too much water, they can be at risk of life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
On Saturday, at least one person died from heat exposure in New York City, according to the medical examiner’s office, which notes the man had pre-existing conditions. The city’s high temperature that day was 97 degrees.
The scorching heat left tens of thousands of people without power over the weekend as high temperatures led to blackouts, conditions that have been exacerbated in some areas by ongoing storms.
In Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, about 20,000 customers were hit by a power outage on Sunday, power company Eversource said in a statement.
Eversource was working to restore power to around 7,500 remaining customers on Sunday afternoon and advised residents to avoid using large appliances during peak hours and to adjust their thermostats a few degrees above the normal to reduce power consumption.
New York City electric utility Con Edison said its workers continued to ‘repair scattered outages caused by the scorching heat’ on Sunday afternoon as the company also braced for another weather challenge. – thunderstorms expected Monday.
The company did not say how many of its customers were affected by the outages, but said in a statement on Sunday that its employees had “replaced and repaired cables and other equipment to get customers back into service.”
The company said it plans to bring in additional employees to help repair damaged overhead wires and equipment in anticipation of Monday’s storms.
Saturday afternoon storms in Greensburg, Pennsylvania knocked out power to more than 10,000 customers, leaving affected residents without power as near-record temperatures were forecast for the area.
Local utility West Penn Power said in a statement that high temperatures were affecting its services on Sunday, even as it braced for further storms. The company said the Twitter Sunday that it was working to restore service to about 6,000 customers without power, compared to about 39,000 total customers affected.