Share

Historic Heat Wave: One in Five Americans Now Face Warnings, Advisories


As record-breaking temperatures are set to sweep the country once again this week and a heat dome continues to hover over residents in Western states, one in five Americans are under heat warnings, according to data from the National Weather Service (NWS).

The NWS warned on Sunday that upward of 35.8 million people in the Western part of the country are under excessive heat warnings. The warning is the agency’s highest category of heat-related advisories, issued only when the “daytime heat index will be 105 or higher during the day and 75 or higher at night for at least a 48 hour period.”

Read more: Start Growing Your Emergency Fund Today

A NWS map, which is updated several times an hour on the agency’s website, shows almost the entirety of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington engulfed in heat-related advisories, with large portions of Idaho and Arizona also impacted, as of Sunday afternoon.

The agency notes that “there is a high risk for dangerous heat illness for anyone, especially for the very young, the very old.” Extreme heat and humidity “is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year,” according to the NWS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1,220 people are killed by extreme heat in the U.S. annually. However, it appears that number is climbing, as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that 2,302 people died of heat-related causes last year.

Read more: What Is a Health Savings Account?

In addition, around 1.1 million people are on excessive heat watch in the region. Less severe heat advisories are extending beyond the region, impacting over 36.6 million people in New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana.

Altogether, around 73 million Americans are under some form of heat advisory this week—one in five Americans.

Record-breaking heat over the past week will continue into next, the NWS said. Las Vegas and Death Valley, California, are forecast to break their daily temperature records on Sunday, reaching 117 and over 129 degrees, respectively. On Saturday, Redding, California, hit 119 degrees, surpassing its all-time record of 118.

Heat Wave
People gather on the beach as southern California faces a heatwave in Santa Monica on July 3. As record-breaking temperatures are set to sweep the country once again this week and a heat dome continues…


ETIENNE LAURENT/AFP via Getty Images

The NWS urges people to hydrate, try and stay cool, and to “check in on those more susceptible to heat impacts.”

This year has already experienced numerous weather “firsts” beyond just temperature increases, including the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic and unusually early, forceful wildfires.

Newsweek has reached out to the NWS communication’s team for comment via email on Sunday.

Last week, President Joe Biden proposed a new measure to protect an estimated 36 million workers from injuries and difficulties related to extreme heat exposure while on the job.

When speaking about the importance of addressing climate change at the D.C. Emergency Operations Center, the president said, “More people die from extreme heat than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined. These climate fueled extreme weather events don’t just affect people’s lives. They also cost money.”