Record-breaking heat waves devastate West Coast

By Viviana Hernandez, Guest Writer

Record-breaking heat waves have been scorching the West and Midwest, causing fires, draught, heat sickness and more across the regions.

Fall is just around the corner for the U.S. but the heat has been ramping up across the country.

On the West Coast, California is burning up with heat up to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Low humidity is also contributing to an increased risk of wildfires. Various weather channels predict that this heat is only going to continue rising, breaking records in the West and Midwest.

According to a report from the First Street Foundation, temperatures considered dangerous by the National Weather Service in these regions will affect over 8 million Americans this year and increase 13 times over 30 years.

“This reality suggests that a 10% temperature increase in Maine can be as dangerous as a 10% increase in Texas, even as the absolute temperature increase in Texas is much higher,” the report concluded.

A wildfire in California has spread 4,625 acres, threatening 32,000 blocks of neighborhoods and people living in Castaic Lake Drive. This, in addition to further wildfires in California and the Northern part of the Great Basin, has threatened the lives and homes of many residents. In one instance, seven firefighters received heat-related injuries, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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In the hottest desert on the planet, Death Valley, temperatures were predicted to be more than 120 degrees. 

“Take this heat seriously, even if you’re healthy, because the predicted temperatures are nothing to take lightly,” Dr. Geoffrey Leung, the public health officer of nearby Riverside County, said in a statement. “Even remaining outdoors for short periods of time can impact your health.” 

In Los Angeles, nine cooling centers across the city have been opened for use by the public so residents can keep cool during the massive heat waves. 

While these temperatures are dangerous, some researchers are predicting it will become worse. 

“When everyone thinks of this extreme summer we (are having), this is probably one of the best summers over the next 30 years,” Matthew Eby, founder and CEO of the First Street Foundation, said. “It’s going to get much worse.”

Not only does the hot weather bring wildfires, it also has the potential to create hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center detected a low pressure area over the Atlantic Ocean and could likely develop into a tropical depression later that week.

Last week, heat weather warnings popped up across weather platforms, warning Cincinnati residents about the high heat index with temperatures up to 98 degrees, feeling like 103 degrees.

“Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency and in the event someone seems to suffer from one, call 911 immediately,” Dr. Marily Crumpton, Interim Health Commissioner of the Cincinnati Health Department, said.