Western states suffer temperatures of up to 50 degrees that join an apocalyptic drought
Cloudy day on the California beaches. The weather forecast sounded like glory to the inhabitants of this state affected by the largest heat wave in its history. Sounds like a typical summer, but it wasn’t. Experts see it as the consecration of climate change that they had been anticipating.
Breaking temperature records in places called Death Valley or Thermal has merit. The residential city of Palm Spring, in the Californian Sonoran desert, reached 50.5 degrees, beating the previous records of the last 150 years, not only for this same day in June but for the entire year. In Phoenix, Arizona, 47.7 degrees had never been reached this early in the summer, three more than the previous record for this time. Like in Las Vegas (Nevada), where the first 45.5 degrees of June have been registered. In Sacramento, the Californian capital, north of San Francisco, 42.7 were registered. And in Denver (Colorado) they reached 38 for the third time in their history, all of them in the last three decades.
You’d say it’s been a hell of a week, but the worst thing is that the breath of relief won’t last. Meteorologists warn that another heat wave like this could arrive in just ten days. Summer has only just begun and next year, if it repeats itself, it will be even worse, they anticipate. It coincides, and not by chance, with a huge drought that leads to low humidity in the earth and makes it easier for high-pressure systems to generate extreme temperatures, since the sun’s energy heats the atmosphere instead of evaporating water that does not exist in the land.
And so it is getting hotter and drier every day. A vicious cycle of drought and extreme heat that directly fuels global warming. According to experts, if greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically reduced, summer temperatures in the American West could rise three degrees Fahrenheit in the next three decades.
High fire risk
Prepare for apocalyptic fires, like the ones that three years ago burned cities like Paradise in California’s Sierra Nevada to ashes, where 10,000 buildings burned and 85 people died. This year’s mega heat wave is so deadly that stepping on the pavement could cause third-degree burns, doctors warned. Red flags were flown in six western states affecting fifty million people in California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.
In the coming days, meteorologists anticipate that temperatures will return to the usual levels of these dates and those who had to change their homes for conditioned shelters will be able to return home without fear of fainting. The hot flush was such that many described a crackling of the skin that doctors translated as an internal breakdown of cells prior to the so-called heat stroke that can be fatal for those with cardiovascular problems or diabetes. Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the few that routinely records the effects of heat on health, estimates that last year three hundred people died from extreme temperatures, and this year it had already recorded twenty victims since April, before the megaola of heat began.