A relentless US heat wave that has triggered health alerts for more than 100 million people is set to intensify this weekend

Temperatures and humidity forecast to surge to suffocating highs in many parts of the country. The devastating heat — which has also hit Europe, causing hundreds of deaths there — highlights the direct threat climate change poses to even the wealthiest countries on the planet.

“So far this week, 60 daily high temperature records have been tied/broken as dangerous heat enveloped much of the Nation,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet Thursday morning

“More records are likely to be set over the next week,” it added.

Temperatures in large parts of the southwest United States have soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), topping 110 degrees in some areas. Similar levels were recorded across the US south, where humidity compounded the discomfort.

More heat to come

While the oppressive heat is expected to subside in the US south and east next week, a high pressure system over the Pacific northwest is expected to push temperatures 10-15 degrees above normal levels.

Temperatures have also soared in Europe, setting a new all-time record in Britain, where the national weather service clocked 104.5 degrees in eastern England, surpassing the previous high set in 2019.

Unlike much of western Europe, most homes in the United States have air conditioning, helping to mitigate the heat wave’s health risks, but adding strain on the power grid in times of high usage.

In Texas, residents were asked last week to reduce their power consumption by not running major appliances from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm, as the southern state’s electric utility warned that low windspeeds threatened the grid reliability.

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