Heatwave Ravages Western US, Northeast Ravaged by Deadly Flash Floods
A scorching heatwave reached its peak in the western United States, with temperatures soaring to 128°F (53°C) in the California desert, while the Northeast experienced ongoing flash flooding that tragically resulted in the loss of at least five lives.
Nearly a quarter of the US population was under extreme heat advisories due to a persistent heat dome centered over western states. This heat dome not only intensified heat in the affected areas but also contributed to heavy rainfall and flooding in the Northeast, a pattern expected to continue for days or even weeks, according to the National Weather Service.
Flash flooding in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, caused by intense downpours over the weekend, claimed the lives of at least five people. The area received nearly 7 inches (17 cm) of rain within 45 minutes, leading to vehicles being swept away. Two children, aged 2 and 9 months, are still missing.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul urged residents to avoid travel until the rain subsides, cautioning against the dangers of flash floods that can rapidly turn a seemingly safe vehicle into a life-threatening situation.
While the rainfall is expected to ease on Monday, it has caused widespread havoc across the Northeast, with Vermont reporting severe flooding in its capital, Montpelier.
Heat warnings were issued from the Pacific Northwest through California, the Southwest, Deep South, and Florida.
Death Valley, California, officially recorded a temperature of 128°F (53°C), although the temperature display sign at Furnace Creek Visitors Center showed 133°F (56°C). The highest recognized temperature on Earth was recorded in Furnace Creek in July 1913 at 134°F (56.7°C), according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Phoenix experienced its 17th consecutive day with temperatures exceeding 110°F (43°C), reaching a high of 115°F (46°C). The city is forecasted to tie the record of 18 consecutive days over 110°F set in June 1974, with the heatwave likely to persist for at least another week.
The National Weather Service warned of widespread record-breaking high temperatures in the Southwest, western Gulf Coast, and southern Florida.
The Pacific Northwest, unaccustomed to such extreme heat, is expected to see temperatures between 100°F and 110°F (38°C to 43°C), posing a significant risk as many homes lack central air conditioning. Southern Europe is also grappling with a severe heatwave.
Scientists attribute these extreme weather events to climate change driven by fossil fuel consumption, emphasizing the urgent need for significant carbon emissions reduction to mitigate its catastrophic effects.