Brutal and dangerous temperatures are being felt from California to Massachusetts, with more than 120 million Americans under excessive heat warnings or advisories. The National Weather Service said that more than 60 new record highs will be set across 20 states by the end of the week.
As temperatures soared into the triple digits, Hoover Dam experienced a major power scare when a transformer explosion sent smoke billowing. The dam supplies power to California, Nevada and Arizona.
West of Dallas, an intense heat-fueled wildfire burned a number of homes as temperatures reached 111 degrees. The fire was about 10% contained with 4,000 acres burned as of Tuesday evening, according to officials.
On Tuesday, 85 large fires were burning more than three million acres in 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Twenty-four days in the triple digits is also taking a toll on Texas infrastructure. Drought conditions are causing the ground to shift, breaking water lines. Of the nearly 500 breaks in Fort Worth this year, almost 40% have happened in the last month.
So far, the fragile Texas power grid is keeping pace with record demand as pleas for customers to conserve electricity continue.
Meteorologists say the weather pattern is stuck, driving warmer and drier conditions north and creating a drought, which prompts more hot temperatures, resulting in parts of California, Arizona and the Central Plains stifling under a heat dome.
“We’re certainly seeing more extreme weather due to climate change,” Sarah Barnes, a meteorologist at the Fort Worth National Weather Service office, told CBS News. “This drought caused us to go into summer much earlier than we normally see.”
In this kind of heat, paramedics say you can get in trouble in just minutes. In Fort Worth, 14 people were taken to the hospital Monday, with one in critical condition. The biggest mistake people make in the heat is not drinking enough water.
The U.S. isn’t the only place melting under a heatwave. Britainfor highest temperature ever registered with 34 locations across the country breaking previous highs.
Rare wildfires broke out in London as it broiled in its hottest day since record-keeping began. Around the country, train tracks buckled in the heat and service was slowed or canceled.
Meanwhile, Spain battled at least 30 blazes. In France, firefighters struggled to contain a wildfire burning an area twice the size of Paris. Portugal has had more than 1,000 heat-related deaths.
Ramy Inocencio contributed reporting.