US heat wave takes its toll on US citizens
A scorching heat wave has permeated the South Western region of the United States. Temperatures in California’s Death Valley have reached 53 °C and are threatening to break the world record which was 56.7 °C on July 10th 1913.
Health officials have issued notices of caution for people venturing outdoors in the heat. Health risks include heat stress, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat syncope and heat stroke as well as the possibility of burns from the concrete and asphalt.
Cooling centres have been set up by the government in community centres and libraries in towns and cities across the region to shelter those citizens that may not have access to air conditioning such as the homeless and elderly.
The US border patrol is set to increase its on-duty personnel this weekend as seven migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border illegally on foot were found dead in Arizona’s desert last week.
The extended heat wave could also pose consequences for nearby airports. Most large airplanes are safe to fly in temperatures up to 52 °C, however, readings as low as 47 °C could affect conditions necessary for safe lift-off. A US Airways spokesman announced that the airline would be monitoring temperature fluctuations “very closely.”
Officials from the National Weather Service have attributed the cause of the heat wave to be a high pressure system which remains over the region. It has been noted that the North American jet stream, which influences weather conditions, has been unusual in its movements over the past few years.
This is believed to have had a profound impact, encouraging stagnation of weather systems, though there is disparity between academic groups on whether global warming is responsible for this behaviour.