East Coast hit by southern heatwave this weekend

East Coast hit by southern heatwave this weekend

A heatwave that has already brought high temperatures to the Great Plains will continue its journey east, potentially sending “record” heat to much of the Northeast, according to the NWS (National Weather Service). It will be the first major heatwave of 2022 for the region.

The “big heat dome” will affect the Carolinas, Virginias, Ohio and Pennsylvania today before moving on to New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on Saturday.

Temperatures could reach 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to 1 degree Celsius) higher than average. States like Texas have already experienced temperatures as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit (44.5 degrees Celsius).

“The warm temperatures that have been plaguing the southern United States will spread/shift to the Northeast over the weekend,” the NWS said on Twitter. “Temperatures well into the 90s in the Northeast could be shocking/dangerous, especially for vulnerable groups.”

The heatwave has prompted authorities in New Jersey to warn of record temperatures and New York to issue its first May heat warning in 16 years for Saturday, with temperatures expected to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).

Heat waves are one of the “leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States,” according to the NWS, a problem that will only get worse as the climate crisis warms the planet.

Among those most at risk are the elderly, children, those living in poverty who do not have access to air conditioning or good medical care, and pets.

The warnings come as other regions of the world experience intense heat. On Tuesday, the UK recorded its hottest day of 2022, with temperatures hitting 27.5 degrees Celsius (81.5 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday afternoon in the south-east of the country.

India, on the other hand, experienced a scorching heat wave in April, with temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius.

It is clear that climate change is dramatically exacerbating heat waves and their deadly effects. Studies show that those living in countries with warmer climates and higher rates of poverty will experience these problems more severely.

Last week, the World Meteorological Organization warned that there is a 50/50 chance that global temperatures will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in the next five years.

The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change has warned that exceeding this threshold, a key benchmark in agreements like the one in Paris, would make extreme heat events four times more likely and expose about 14 percent of the world’s population to severe heat waves once every five years .

A warming of 2 degrees Celsius would amplify these effects.

“Reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century is still achievable, but it’s becoming increasingly likely that that limit will be exceeded before things start to go down again,” Steven Sherwood of the university’s Climate Change Research Center told The Independent from New South Wales. “Getting back down to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century will require extremely severe mitigation to end fossil fuel use and will require the use of technologies that have not yet been tested at scale, to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”