Brutal and dangerous temperatures are being felt from California to Massachusetts, with more than 120 million Americans subject to excessive heat warnings or advisories. The National Weather Service said more than 60 new records will be set in 20 states by the end of the week.
As temperatures soared into the triple digits, the Hoover Dam experienced a major power crisis when a transformer explosion caused smoke to billow. The dam supplies electricity to California, Nevada and Arizona.
West of Dallas, an intense heat-fueled wildfire scorched a number of homes as temperatures reached 111 degrees. The blaze was about 10% contained and 4,000 acres burned Tuesday night, officials said.
As of Tuesday, 85 large fires were burning more than three million acres in 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Twenty-four triple-digit days are also weighing on Texas infrastructure. Drought conditions cause soil to shift, breaking water pipes. Of the nearly 500 breaks in Fort Worth this year, nearly 40% occurred in the past month.
So far, Texas’ fragile power grid is keeping pace with record demand as calls for customers to conserve power continue.
Meteorologists say the weather pattern is locked, driving hotter, drier conditions northward and creating drought, which is causing warmer temperatures, causing parts of California, Arizona and the central plains suffocate under a dome of heat.
“We are definitely seeing more extreme weather due to climate change,” Sarah Barnes, a meteorologist with the Fort Worth National Weather Service office, told CBS News. “This drought has caused us to enter summer much earlier than we normally see.”
In this kind of heat, paramedics say you can be in trouble within minutes. In Fort Worth, 14 people were taken to hospital on Monday, including one in critical condition. The biggest mistake people make in the heat is not drinking enough water.
The United States is not the only place to melt under a heat wave. Britainfor the highest temperature on record with 34 locations across the country, beating previous highs.
Rare wildfires have broken out in London as it scorched on its hottest day since record-keeping began. Across the country, train tracks buckled in the heat and service was slowed or canceled.
During this time, Spain fought at least 30 fires. In France, firefighters struggled to contain a wildfire burning an area twice the size of Paris. Portugal has recorded more than 1,000 heat-related deaths.
Ramy Inocencio contributed reporting.