A Record Heat Wave Will Scorch the United States In July

  • Parts of California and Arizona will reach record high temperatures upwards of 126º F this week, according to the National Weather Service.
  • The record heat wave will impact all 48 contiguous states in the US this month.
  • Health experts are warning people to keep an eye out for heat exhaustion and dehydration, as well as reducing COVID-19 risks as the pandemic rages on.

    A record-breaking and potentially historic heat wave has blossomed across the South in early July, and expert meteorologists say that oppressive temperatures will spread across much of the country this month – even as we spend more time indoors during the coronavirus pandemic. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for southwestern states for the second weekend of July, where temperatures will reach as high as 120º F in areas of Arizona, California, and Nevada, and residents will swelter against 100º F-plus daily highs in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Even milder regions in the Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic seaboard will soar into periods of 100º F heat in the midst of July, according to a report from CBS News.

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    In fact, the National Weather Service is forecasting that more than 75 different record temperature highs will be smashed in the second weekend of July alone, CBS reports. But the concerning aspect of the heat wave for most Americans won’t be how hot it gets in a single day – it’ll be how long the weather pattern holds for relentless heat and humidity across the nation. “The heat wave will be very long-lived, lasting multiple weeks in some areas with only a few days of near-normal temperatures during that span,” Jeff Masters, Ph.D., founder of Weather Underground, told CBS News. “This will increase the odds of heat illness, and heat-related deaths.”

    Heat stroke is a serious concern over the summer months on a regular basis, but it’ll be crucial to watch for now that America is in for a prolonged heat wave. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, heat stroke and dehydration can present itself through a few different sly symptoms; headaches, a racing heart rate, nausea or vomiting, confusion, cramps, fatigue, or dark-colored urine, among others. Of course, heat stroke and dehydration aren’t the only concern during the upcoming heat wave – medical experts are on guard as more people spend time indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, where air conditioning may play a role in spreading airborne germs among families and any guests.

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    While the upcoming heat wave will be some of the hottest weather we’ve recalled in recent years, experts say it may not be the hottest we’ve ever seen in history. As meteorologist Matthew Cappucci explained for The Washington Post, many historical records were set in the 1930s, during what’s now known as the Dust Bowl era. In fact, July has been known as the month when the hottest day ever recorded on Earth occurred; according to CNN, that was 107 years ago, when temperatures in Death Valley hit 136º F.

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    Whether you’re in for a high of 126º F or a comparatively modest 100º F, it’s important to stay hydrated as much as possible, and keep a close eye on kids and older adults spending time outdoors this month.


    Associate Health Editor
    Zee Krstic is a health editor for GoodHousekeeping.com, where he covers the latest in health and nutrition news, decodes diet and fitness trends, and reviews the best products in the wellness aisle.

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