Scorching temperatures swept across the northeast on Sunday in the region’s first prolonged heat wave of the summer, with a record five straight days of triple-digit temperatures in Newark and scorching heat in Boston; Providence, RI; and Manchester, NH
Other parts of the country have also been sweltering, with Oklahoma experiencing temperatures that topped 100 degrees in nine of the past 11 days.
The scorching heat underscored the sobering reality that such dangerous temperatures are becoming a summer norm in the United States and elsewhere, with heat waves, wildfires and droughts disrupting daily life across the globe.
Heat waves in the United States have increased from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year in the 2010s. The past seven years have been the hottest in the history of accurate world records.
The northeast heat wave, which has hit some of the country’s most densely populated corridors, has residents rushing for help. In New York, temperatures remained just below record highs on Sunday afternoon, hitting 94 in Central Park as lines formed at the city’s swimming pools, despite a shortage of lifeguards.
William Jimenez, 59, brought his 13-year-old son to the Crotona Park pool in the Bronx early in the day, knowing the place would be taken over later.
“The weather is getting hotter and hotter,” he said. “The best thing is to be in the pool and the park.”
Elsewhere in the Bronx, many streets have turned into paved water parks, thanks to open fire hydrants that spill onto sidewalks. In several places, wooden planks have been extended into the street for people to avoid small rivers.
Tina Hernandez, 24, and her 12-year-old stepdaughter laughed as they threw water at each other in front of an open fire hydrant on Monroe Avenue.
“It’s definitely crazy,” Ms. Hernandez said. “Home is the hottest part of summer. We tried running inside the sprinklers. It was hard to keep his cool.
In Newark, the temperature reached 102 degrees, a record for the date and the fifth day of readings above 100 degrees, the longest streak recorded for the city. Providence hit 98 degrees, breaking its previous high of 94 in 1987, and Boston hit a sweltering 100 degrees, breaking its previous high of 98 in 1933. Philadelphia hit 99 degrees, breaking its high of 98 since 2011, and Manchester, NH , recorded a temperature of 97, surpassing its previous high on the day of 95.
From Boston to Philadelphia Saint Louismajor cities declared emergencies and heat advisories that lasted through the weekend, with some triggering services to keep residents cool, like opening libraries as cooling centers. In notoriously swampy Washington, DC, where temperatures have hovered in the 90s, officials extended opening hours for some of the city’s swimming poolsand Kansas City, Mo., posted tips on Twitter for residents to stop the heat from damaging the foundations of their homes.
Philadelphia, which declared a heat emergency starting Thursday, halted a plan to shut off water to customers with overdue bills, citing the heat wave.
Terry Greene, 62, said he enjoyed the warmth of Washington, DC, but became grateful for the air conditioning at the church where he is employed as a maintenance worker.
“If I have to work outside, I prepare for it. I know come early in the morning,” Mr. Greene said.
Further south, Jesse Williams, 40, was preparing for a long shift in front of a 600-degree oven at the Memphis Pizza Cafe in Memphis, Tennessee, where the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory. Temperatures were expected to reach nearly 100 degrees.
“If I didn’t have this little shop fan blowing on me, I’d probably have heat stroke,” Mr Williams said.
In Boston, race organizers postponed the city’s annual triathlon. In New York, organizers shortened a similar race to account for temperatures; the water temperature soared to nearly 80 degrees when the race started around dawn.
In Philadelphia, the utility PECO strategies deployed for customers to save electricity, such as washing clothes in cold water and installing window coverings. In New York, Allan Drury, a spokesman for Con Edison, said this week represented the peak in electricity demand for the entire summer. Since Monday, there have been more than 28,400 scattered blackouts in the New York area, mostly concentrated in Westchester and the Bronx, Drury said.
“I’m 53 and I can’t remember it ever being this hot,” said Lonnie Coleman, a retired Philadelphia school district employee who relaxed at the Schuylkill Sunday morning in the hoping to beat the afternoon heat.
Elsewhere in Philadelphia, children, dogs and a few adults dove into the shallow water of the Logan Square fountain.
Laura McSloy, a food service worker from the Brewerytown section, sat in the fountain pool.
“It’s so hot it made me feel bad for the dog,” said Ms McSloy, 47.
Temperatures beyond the northeast have also soared. Outside Tulsa, Okla., Charley Pearson, 63, said the prolonged heat has been difficult for the small volunteer fire department of which he is chief. He described a man who had collapsed outside his house with heart problems.
“The man was in the sun, no shade to be found, so here we are outside chest pumping in 104, 105 degrees,” he said.
In downtown Oklahoma City, where temperatures soared to 96 degrees in the early afternoon, children played in the water feature at Scissortail Park, laughing and splashing. But the feature wasn’t just for play: it’s a last source of drinking water for some of the city’s homeless. Brian Brust, 52 and newly homeless, said it was one of the first lessons he learned when he started living on the streets.
“People tell me this is the place to go,” Mr. Brust said. “It is difficult to find water in the streets.”
He waited in the shade of the downtown Ronald J. Norick Library with many other homeless people around noon. It’s one of 75 state-designated cooling centers, but it didn’t open until 1 p.m.
Sunday’s crippling heat descended as pockets of the country were already struggling to manage a wave of heat-related emergencies, such as the crippling Southwest drought and an extremely active wildfire season in New Mexico. , Arizona and California. The Fire Oaknear Yosemite National Park, burned more than 14,000 square acres.
An equally scorching heat wave is expected to sweep parts of the Northwest next week, with cities like Seattle facing temperatures above 100 degrees.
In the Bronx, Wanda Rosser, 58, and Yvonne Miles, 62, friends for more than 40 years, sat in the shade outside the New York City Housing Authority’s Butler Houses development on Sunday afternoon.
They had different reactions to the heat.
“I’m a summer baby,” Ms Rosser said. “Have fun!”
But Ms Miles said she struggled with her asthma in the hot weather.
Still, she said, “You have to live. It’s Mother Nature. »
Reporting was provided by Adam Bednar, Téa Kvetenadze, Jon Hurdle, Luke Vander Ploeg, Ben Fenwick, Alex Traub and April Rubin.