Relentless heat bakes much of US, England for another day

Weather

(AP) — Almost 100 million Americans are facing a dangerous heat wave, with the South and Plains states some of the hottest parts of the country right now.

Meanwhile, a heat wave is building in the coastal mid-Atlantic and southern New England regions, but temperatures will pale in comparison to those in the southern Plains. In Oklahoma and Texas, people were already seeing triple-digit temperatures early Wednesday morning. Oklahoma City reported that it hit 110 degrees Tuesday, while Dallas broke its 108-degree all-time record, with temperatures going up to 109.

The Northeast won’t see quite that extreme heat, although it will still see significant highs, with 95-degree days that feel like 102 because of the heat index.

It’s not just the U.S. dealing with scorching temperatures. The United Kingdom is breaking records, and Europe is reporting more than 1,000 heat-related deaths in Spain and Portugal, per Axios.

For the first time, temperatures in the United Kingdom went above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the UK Met Office reported Tuesday. Before that, the highest temperature recorded in Britain was 101.7 F in 2019. In total, 30 locations in the UK have broken heat-related records.

Met Office chief scientist Stephen Belcher said such temperatures in Britain were “virtually impossible” without human-driven climate change. He warned that, “We could see temperatures like this every three years” without serious action on carbon emissions.

The sweltering weather has disrupted everyday life for many in Britain, as scores of homes, small businesses and public buildings don’t have air conditioning.

The intense heat since Monday has damaged the runway at London’s Luton airport, forcing it to shut for several hours, and warped a main road in eastern England, leaving it looking like a “skatepark,” police said. Major train stations were shut or near-empty Tuesday, as trains were canceled or ran at low speeds out of concern rails could buckle.

Firefighters remained on alert Wednesday in Britain, after the London Fire Brigade had its busiest day since World War II on Tuesday. Firefighters received more than 2,600 calls and at one point were fighting 12 fires simultaneously, Mayor Sadiq Khan said.

Khan said the fire danger was high because hot, dry weather has parched grassland around London.

“Once it catches fire it spreads incredibly fast, like wildfires like you see in movies or in fires in California or in parts of France…,” Khan told the BBC. “I’ve just spoken to the fire commissioner. He’s still concerned about the ground being dry and the speed of fire spreading.”

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