An intense heat wave is affecting the southern United States, particularly Texas and Louisiana, with “dangerous” temperatures expected to persist for several days. It is attributed to the impact of global warming.
In recent days, a mail carrier and a young walker died in Texas after fainting due to the heat. In addition, twelve pets died after being left locked in an abandoned apartment. The heat has reached the point of cracking the pavement in Houston.
As summer begins, millions of Americans are under extreme heat alerts, with temperatures in excess of 40°C and wind chills around 45°C.
This episode also affects parts of New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and northern Florida, and scientists attribute it to global warming.
Andrew Pershing, vice president in charge of science for the NGO Climate Central, pointed out that this heat wave is more intense, extensive, and probably longer-lasting due to human activities.
In response to this situation, cooling centers have been set up in Houston to shelter vulnerable people, and a heat alert has been issued in New Orleans, Louisiana. Roads have been damaged by the heat, and workers are busy repairing them.
The concern is that the heat has come so early in the year that people’s physiology has not yet adapted to the high temperatures. The first heat waves of the year are usually the most deadly.
The US Weather Service (NWS) has advised people to drink plenty of water, stay in air-conditioned and shaded rooms, and check on their families and neighbors. These conditions are considered “dangerously hot,” and people are advised to avoid strenuous activity.
These extreme high temperatures have persisted for several days and are expected to gradually spread eastward, with forecasts predicting that they will continue through the weekend.
In terms of fatalities, a 66-year-old mail carrier collapsed while delivering mail in Dallas, and a 14-year-old teenager died after collapsing while hiking in Big Bend National Park in Texas. In addition, twelve cats and a dog were found dead in an abandoned apartment in Houston.
The use of air conditioning is considered crucial in dealing with this heat wave and can save lives. However, it is a challenge to run it on renewable energy sources to avoid increasing emissions into the atmosphere and further contributing to global warming.
This situation underscores the need to address climate change, take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote the use of renewable energies in the future.