Western United States hit by crippling heat wave

World Today

Phoenix hit a high of 118 on Monday with an excessive heat warning in place until Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt York

Parts of the U.S. have been in the grip of a major heatwave with some places reaching 120 degrees in the shade.
It’s led to increased admissions to hospitals for heat exhaustion. And power outages as electricity grids struggle to cope with demand.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle reports.

Across California, Nevada, and Arizona, it’s been scorching lately.

“A lot of people end up in the hospital, because they don’t realize, ‘my body can’t handle this kind of heat,'” said NBC4 LA Meteorologist, Shanna Mendiola. “All of the West Coast is under this ridge of high pressure at the moment, this big dome of just sinking air, and it keeps things hot, keeps any storm out of the way, and it’s not really moving so what happens is everything dries out.. and that’s why these temperatures go up, it’s just not moving.”

Temperatures have been soaring – up to 120F in the shade.

Forty-million people across the west and southwest United States are under heat warnings.

Paramedics are getting constant calls about heat exhaustion.

Even in places where they’re used to hot days, this been been an early shock.

California’s Santa Clarita Valley often sees temperatures in the hundreds–but, not this early. Summer only officially began a few days ago. These are the kinds of temperatures that tend to arrive from July onwards.

Some airports have had to ground smaller planes, because they can’t cope in the sudden change of heat.

There have also been frequent warnings to keep electronics usage down. As homes heat up, residents reach for the air conditioning. And that’s overloading power grids, leading to outages.

But business still have to carry on, regardless of the weather.

Warehouse, AMS Fulfillment, told CGTN that it has to keep productivity up, whilst making sure employees are still comfortable and, crucially safe.

It hands out drinks like Gatorade and has specially insulated ceilings to keep the heat out as long as possible. “All of our folks are sensitive to the fact that they may have to take more micro breaks, and get some water, because you can only perform to a certain level when your environment is getting hot. Typically, what my managers will do in that situation is come to me and say ‘hey, why don’t we have the crew come in at 6am tomorrow, so we can get them out at 3:30,'” said CEO, Ken Wiseman.

Forecasters say the high temperatures should start to disappear in the coming days.

But these are not unusual highs – they’re just unusual for June.

And as we get further into the summer, the heat will be back on. Along with the misery and chaos that comes with it for many.