Extreme and dangerous temperatures are being felt from California to Massachusetts, with more than 120 million Americans under extreme heat warnings or advisories. The National Weather Service says more than 60 new records will be set in 20 states over the weekend.
As temperatures soared into triple digits, Hoover Dam experienced a major power scare as smoke rose from a transformer explosion. The dam supplies power to California, Nevada and Arizona.
West of Dallas, a heat-fueled wildfire burned several homes as temperatures reached 111 degrees. As of Tuesday night, the 4,000-acre fire was about 10% contained, according to officials.
As of Tuesday, 85 large fires were burning more than three million acres in 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Twenty-four days of triple digits are also taking a toll on Texas infrastructure. Drought conditions cause the land to change, water channels to break. About 40% of the nearly 500 break-ins in Fort Worth this year have occurred in the past month.
So far, the fragile Texas power grid is cruising along with record demand, as pleas for customers to conserve electricity continue.
Weather forecasters say the weather will be stuck, driving warmer, drier conditions north and creating droughts that will lead to even warmer temperatures, causing parts of California, Arizona and the Central Plains to fall under a heat dome.
“We’re definitely seeing more severe weather because of climate change,” Sarah Barnes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office, told CBS News. “This drought has pushed us into winter much earlier than we normally see.”
In such heat, paramedics say they can be in trouble in minutes. In Fort Worth, 14 people were taken to the hospital Monday, one in critical condition. The biggest mistake people make in the heat is not drinking enough water.
America isn’t the only one melting in the heat wave. Britain34 locations across the country beat the previous record for maximum temperature.
A rare wildfire broke out in London on the hottest day since record-keeping began. Around the country, trains jammed in the heat and service was slowed or canceled.
Meanwhile, Spain has battled at least 30 fires. In France, firefighters battled to contain wildfires burning through an area twice the size of Paris. Portugal has more than 1,000 dead due to the heat.
Ramy Inocencio contributed reporting.