Extreme Weather Bakes the South, Soaks the Northeast

(Photo credit: Kyler Boone/Unsplash)
(Photo credit: Kyler Boone/Unsplash)

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Some summer plans are cemented in stone, come rain or shine. And there’ll be copious amounts of both.

Energy grids in Mexico and the Southwestern US will be tested this week amid a heat wave expected to bring near-record temperatures. Meanwhile, a massive rainstorm in the Northeast is flooding streets and ruining travel plans. So much for summer fun.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

The world’s average temperature hit its highest level in recorded history last Monday, around 63 degrees Fahrenheit, according to data from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer. Then another record was set on Tuesday. Then again on Thursday. Now, the El Niño hot-weather pattern — an event we see every 3 to 7 years that climate scientists say is exacerbated by human-induced climate change — is set to bear down on large swaths of the Southwest. That’s prompted excessive heat warnings across parts of Arizona and Southern California; in Phoenix, temperatures might top 114 degrees.

That’s in addition to a flood watch and a severe thunderstorm watch issued for some 50 million and 33 million people, respectively, in the Northeast — from North Carolina all the way up to New Hampshire. Some regions can expect as much as 5 inches of rainfall.

The extreme weather events are set to challenge critical infrastructures in both regions:

  • Over 40% of departing flights out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport had been canceled Sunday, according to flight tracker FlightAware, as well as over 150 canceled flights at Newark and more than 100 at JFK.
  • The Electric Reliability Council of Texas already issued a call for consumers to conserve energy late last month as the heatwave first rode in, with power use hitting an all-time recorded high on June 27. During a heatwave last summer, Californians averted rolling blackouts following a statewide call to conserve energy.

Hot Streak: Relief isn’t on the way: Computer projections of weather patterns in the next 16 days “do not show an end to this heat wave,” according to the National Weather Service. “This should go down as one of the longest, if not the longest duration heat wave.” Time to call your friends with a swimming pool. Unless you live in rain-soaked New York, of course.