By Brad Brooks
(Reuters) – Nearly a quarter of the population of the United States is under extreme heat warnings on Sunday, while an already rain-soaked New England braces for further downpours, the National said. Weather Service (NWS).
Heat warnings have spread from the Pacific Northwest, through California, across the Southwest and into the Deep South and Florida.
Temperatures of over 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) are predicted for high desert regions of southern California, as well as Arizona and Nevada. The NWS said widespread record high temperatures would likely be recorded in the southwest, on the western Gulf Coast and also in southern Florida.
Temperatures between 100 F and 110 F are predicted for parts of the Pacific Northwest. This could be especially dangerous for an area unaccustomed to excessive heat, as many homes lack central air conditioning, according to data from the US Census Bureau.
The extreme heat in the United States, with warnings for more than 80 million people, is caused by a high-pressure air mass sitting like a dome atop the affected areas, which prevents any rain storms from moving in for provide cooler weather, the NWS said.
Little relief from the heat is in sight.
“The combination of scorching temperatures and oppressively high dew points will result in sweltering heat throughout the
South in the coming week,” the NWS wrote.
Scientists say fossil fuel-induced climate change heralds more extreme weather like that seen in the United States in recent days, warning the world must drastically reduce carbon emissions to avoid its catastrophic effects.
EVEN MORE RAIN
The National Weather Service (NWS) said parts of New England and parts of the mid-Atlantic would be hit by storms “capable of producing torrential rain” before a cold front moving in from the west. Areas at risk include major cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
“Given parts of the northeast contain saturated and sensitive soils following recent heavy rains over the past 10 days, this is a ready pattern to produce flash flooding that could be significant in the affected areas,” the NWS said in a Sunday morning forecast.
The NWS said the northeast could experience impassable roads, tornadoes and even mudslides in some areas of higher ground.
At least three people were swept away and killed by a flash flood Saturday in Pennsylvania’s Upper Makefield Township, about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia, local police said in a written statement. Rescuers said Sunday they were looking for three or four other missing people in the area.
Flooding has inundated the northeast in recent days, with Vermont in particular reporting catastrophic flooding in its capital Montpelier, which is again under a flash flood warning on Sunday.
Outside of the northeast, the NWS forecast heavy rain for parts of the Central Plains and the Middle Mississippi Valley, as well as eastern Texas, parts of Arkansas and Louisiana, and parts of the gulf coast.
(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Josie Kao)