East coast to be hit with southern heatwave this weekend

Record temperatures could hit 19 states

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 20 May 2022 21:29
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A heat wave that has already caused high temperatures across the Great Plains will continue its journey eastward and send potentially “record-breaking” heat across much of the northeast, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). It will mark the first major heatwave of 2022 for the region.

The “large dome of heat” will begin affecting the Carolinas, the Virginias, Ohio, and Pennsylvania today, before continuing to New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine on Saturday.

Temperatures could reach as much as 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (5 - 11 Celsius) hotter than average. States like Texas have already experienced temperatures as high as 105 F.

“Hot temperatures that have been plaguing the south-central U.S. will spread/shift northeastward through the weekend,” the NWS said on Twitter. “Temperatures well into the 90s in the Northeast could be impactful/dangerous especially for sensitive groups.”

The heat wave has prompted New Jersey officials to warn of record-breaking temperatures, and New York to issue its first May heat advisory in 16 years for Saturday, expecting temperatures of up to 100 degrees F.

Heat waves are one of the “leading weather-related killers in the US” according to the NWS, a problem that will only get worse as the climate crisis warms the planet.

Those most vulnerable include seniors, children, those in poverty without access to air conditions and good medical care, and pets.

The warnings come as other regions around the globe experience high heat. On Tuesday, the UK recorded its hottest day of 2022, with temperatures at 27.5C on Tuesday afternoon in the southeast part of the country.

India, meanwhile, experienced a scorching heat wave of temperatures at as much as 118F (47.7C) in April.

It’s clear that climate change is dramatically exacerbating heat waves and their deadly effects. Studies show that those living in countries with warmer climates and high rates of poverty will experience these problems most acutely.

Last week, the World Meteorological Organization warned that there’s a 50:50 chance the global temperature will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in the next five years.

The United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change has warned breaching this threshold, one of the key benchmarks in agreements like the Paris climate accords, would make extreme heat events four times more likely, espoing about 14 per cent of the world’s population to severe heatwaves once every five years.

Warming of 2C would compound these effects.

“Reaching 1.5C by the end of the century is still feasible, but an overshoot of 1.5C is increasingly likely before coming down again,” Steven Sherwood, of the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre told The Independent. “Getting back down to 1.5C by the end of the century will require extremely strong mitigation to end fossil fuel use and it will require using technologies, as yet untested at scale, to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”

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