Climate change is resulting in 100 million Americans experiencing a 'category 5 heatwave': report
The climate crisis continues to bite in the U.S. this week with nearly one-third of people in the country living under heat advisories and warnings on Tuesday as high temperatures were reported from the Gulf Coast to the Upper Midwest and across the Southeast.
More than 107 million people are being advised to stay indoors as possible to avoid record-setting heatwaves that have been reported across the country in recent days, moving eastward and expected to continue for at least the next two weeks.
The National Weather Service (NWS) posted a map showing the maximum temperature forecast for the next week, with South Texas and Georgia residents expected to face 102°F heat and temperatures reaching 105° in parts of South Carolina and Nebraska.
"Dangerous, record-setting heat to continue from the Upper Midwest to the Southeast through midweek," the NWS said.
The warning was indicative of "the new normal" created by the climate crisis, tweeted the progressive advocacy group Roots Action.
As Common Dreams reported on Tuesday, the heatwave comes as the Yellowstone National Park area faces catastrophic flooding which swept at least one home into the Yellowstone River on Monday.
Last summer, a record-breaking heatwave was linked to nearly 500 "sudden and unexpected" deaths in British Columbia as well as dozens of deaths in the United States' Pacific Northwest region.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of Atlanta likened the coming extreme heat to a hurricane, which climate experts would watch closely as it was forming.
"Confidence/certainty is increasing for a brutal heatwave into next week," he tweeted. "Category 5 heatwave."
Humidity is also expected to make already-high temperatures feel five to 15° hotter.
Chicago officials began opening cooling centers Tuesday as a 105° heat index was expected in the coming days.
With the federal government continuing to support the fossil fuel industry and Republicans and right-wing Democrats refusing to pass far-reaching climate legislation, scientists including Peter Kalmus of NASA have expressed concern that heatwaves and other extreme weather events will continue to get worse each year.
"Dangerous heatwaves are getting worse and more frequent due to climate change," said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) on Tuesday. "We must act now to combat rising temperatures and extreme weather events."
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