In addition to widespread drought, California and surrounding states are now also affected by extreme heat. In some areas, water is already being rationed.
The National Weather Service brings bad news to almost 50 million people in the southwest of the USA. California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and parts of Colorado have been hit by a heat wave that brings temperatures of 39 degrees Celsius and more. Arizona’s capital Phoenix recently set a new heat record of 48 degrees Celsius, and Death Valley in California even recorded 53 degrees.
Heat wave in the USA: temperatures above 40 ° Celsius
The weather is not only a direct threat to the population, it is also putting a strain on the power grid in California and Texas. Those who can try to cope with the temperatures with an air conditioning system – apparently so extensive in California that the state’s electricity network operators are already calling on homeowners to save electricity, Spiegel reports. Authorities are calling on people to drink plenty of water on social media, while the federal government in Washington has cut water rations in some California communities by 75 percent, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, a tangible conflict between farmers and politicians over the resource looms in southern Oregon.
Flora and fauna are currently also dependent on a particularly large amount of water so that the forest fires already outlined by experts on the horizon are less violent this summer. According to a study by the US government, around 88 percent in the southwest of the USA are suffering from a drought emergency. Instead of rain, however, they are currently exposed to sweltering heat. By the end of May, fires in California had already destroyed five times as much vegetation compared to the beginning of 2020, reports the AFP news agency.
Southwest USA suffers from heat wave – surprisingly very hot early in California and the surrounding area
The fact that one can hope for a pleasant summer in California, Texas and Co. as soon as the first wave has subsided is also unlikely: the actual heat wave is months ahead. Deepti Singh, a climate scientist at the University of Washington State, is also surprised that the temperatures will climb to such high levels as early as June. The current heat wave is unprecedented in timing, intensity and scope, she told the Washington Post.
The temperatures are a real danger to life and limb. In Maripoca County, Arizona, more than 300 deaths were recorded from extreme heat last year. Since April 2021, three have been added, in 20 cases the exact circumstances and causes are being investigated. (mp)
Headline list image: © Patrick T. Fallon / AFP