According to a forecast by the US National Weather Service, millions of people in over two dozen states in the United States will experience record-breaking temperatures over the weekend.
However, the most worrying fact is that the south-central states are expected to experience readings in triple digits.
The heatwave, stretching across both sides of the Atlantic, has compelled state leaders to urge people to reduce power consumption. Temperatures in parts of the 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 declared heat emergencies and cautioned their residents to remain alert. “Stay hydrated, limit sun exposure, and check on seniors, neighbors & pets,” Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Twitter.
The devastating heat highlights the immediate danger that climate change poses to even the wealthiest countries on the planet.
The heatwave has also caused a flash drought in the southern and central plains of America.
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.