UPDATED 11:16 AM PT – Thursday, June 17, 2021
The western and central United States are suffering through a massive heat wave putting nearly 50 million people under either a heat advisory or an excessive heat warning. Health officials are urging people to be extra alert now after months of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.
“This year has brought all kinds of changes in routine, lots of stress, lots of fatigue,” stated Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “And so, that combined with the record temperatures we’re experiencing right now, unfortunately could be a recipe for disaster.”
According to the National Weather Service, widespread excessive heat warnings and advisories are in effect for California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. Meanwhile, Salt Lake City set a heat record for the second day in a row after peaking at 107 degrees Tuesday. This is its hottest temperature ever recorded.
Salt Lake City tied its all time highest temperature ever today.
Several over areas in the West set record high temperatures for the day. https://t.co/HpBiK7GRZe
— National Weather Service (@NWS) June 16, 2021
Meanwhile in Texas, the scorching temperatures have sparked another round of power plant outages for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) as temperatures topped 100 degrees on Monday. ERCOT issued an advisory calling on Texas to reduce electric use as much as possible through Friday while urging there is a “very concerning” amount of power plant outages ongoing as a result of the heat waves. Roughly 10,000 ERCOT customers of lost power, in turn, causing stress and panic among Texas residents.
“It’s frustrating because I’m working from home,” stated Texas resident Paula Than. “I have a dog who needs power, so it’s very frustrating to not have any answers.”
This comes as temperatures have already broken dozens of record high across the region, including California, Arizona and Montana with more expected to fall this weekend. The National Weather Service is warning that both daytime and overnight temperature records are likely to be broken by next week.
The agency also urged pet owners to be attentive to animals when out for walks and when in cars. It also issued fire danger advisories while noting such conditions can be dangerous and in some cases fatal.
Animals can die of heatstroke within 15 minutes, and cracking the car windows doesn’t help. NEVER leave your pets in parked vehicles. Here are some other helpful tips for keeping your furry friends safe in the heat. #WeatherReady #KeepYourCool pic.twitter.com/6hbLi00jVO
— NWS Topeka (@NWSTopeka) June 16, 2021