the southern United States is sweltering under a dangerous heat wave

Several tens of millions of Americans suffered dangerously high temperatures on Friday, July 14. In question, a strong heat wave from California (West Coast) to Texas, and in some places in Florida (East Coast).

A heat dome has been raging since the beginning of the week over the desert states of the Southwest, causing serious health risks for the elderly, construction workers, delivery workers, the homeless…

The heat dome is a meteorological phenomenon linked to the presence of a blocking anticyclone which persists in the same point, causing the stagnation of hot air masses. This high pressure zone also favors the descent of the air which, under the effect of compression, heats the atmosphere. As the trapped heat continues to heat up, the system acts like a lid on a frying pan.

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In Arizona, one of the worst-hit states, daily life now feels like a marathon against the heat. Phoenix, the state capital, recorded its 15th consecutive day above 43C on Friday, according to the US weather service NWS. Several concerts have been cancelled. On social media this week, some residents posted photos of the tar melting on their roofs or videos showing what they were doing cook an egg on the manhole covers.

Authorities recommend avoiding outdoor activities during the day and paying attention to signs of dehydration, which can quickly become fatal in such temperatures. tell yourself “it’s the desert, of course it’s hot” East “a dangerous state of mind!” »insists the NWS of Las Vegas since Tuesday on Twitter.

No respite in sight

“The Busiest Period” of this heat wave ” start “ this weekend, forecasters warned. In California, in the famous Death Valley, one of the hottest places on the planet, the mercury could approach 54°C on Sunday. And meteorologists are still not expecting a break: temperatures are expected to remain abnormally high next week in the south of the country.

Invisible, unlike floods and wildfires, heat is the deadliest weather phenomenon in the United States. However, the problem is regularly overlooked. Scorching temperatures this past weekend killed ten migrants along the border with Mexico, according to the border police, CBP.

Last week, Arizona’s most populous Maricopa County released a report that counted 425 heat deaths in the summer of 2022, a 25 percent increase from a year earlier.

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It’s always difficult to attribute a particular weather event to climate change, but scientists say global warming, linked to humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels, is responsible for the multiplication and intensification of heatwaves around the world.

The heatwave comes as the world experienced its hottest June on record, according to climate change observatory Copernicus.

The world with AFP