Wouldn't it be inspiring if the politicians took all the energy they put into fighting over how much of our programs they can cut and put it to something more useful -- like climate change? Yes, I know, it's just not going to happen. After all, the latest GOP talking point is that environmental regulations are the reason we don't have jobs. (And won't it be fun when we give away the store on that one!) Not to mention, the old pillhead Limbaugh insists it's not really that hot, it's just a government plot to make people think it's that hot. Uh huh.
It's official: July was a scorcher. High temperatures in communities across the USA broke or tied records 2,676 times, almost double the number (1,444) of a year ago, the National Weather Service reports.
Temperatures in Newark, N.J., set an all-time record of 108. Highs in Atlantic City, N.J., topped 105 for two straight days. Washington endured its hottest July since 1871. In Oklahoma City, temps topped 100 for 27 of the last 30 days of July. Dallas/Fort Worth is enduring its second longest stretch of consecutive 100-plus days at 30, closing in on the record of 42 in 1980, says Chris Vaccaro of the National Weather Service.
August is unlikely to offer much relief, forecasters say. The heat wave anchored over the Central and Southern Plains states, including drought-stricken Texas, is capped by a colossal vault of high pressure that has locked out cooler air currents from Canada.
Vaccaro says the heat wave "has affected, at some point, nearly all of the eastern two-thirds of the United States. It has been relentless, with triple-digit heat for weeks, hitting areas that are not accustomed to high heat. Portland, Maine, hit 102 degrees a couple of weeks ago. We had temperatures in the hundreds in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas."
At its worst, July's heat wave extended through 32 states. Eighteen states have heat advisories, from North Dakota to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.
"We're looking at another heat wave in the week ahead," Vaccaro says. "We'll see heat creep into the upper Midwest, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa."
This week, Northern states may get a reprieve but not Georgia and the Carolinas, where temps may top 100, says Mark Ressler, meteorologist at the Weather Channel. High humidity and lofty nighttime temperatures have made matters worse, Ressler says.
"We not only have record highs, but also record high overnight lows, with temperatures staying way up in the 80s overnight," he says. "That has added to how oppressive this air mass has been, especially where people don't have access to air conditioning. There's no relief."