Calf Canyon Fire in New Mexico. Photo by Paul Cooper via Flickr
Calf Canyon Fire in New Mexico. Photo by Paul Cooper via Flickr

May heatwave breaks records across the US

An early season heatwave will persist into this week across the southern half of the United States. Last week, places like Chicago and central Texas began seeing extremely high temperatures that are typical of mid-late summer this past week. 

Meteorologists say the sudden rise in temperature, reaching the high 90s across the south-central United States, marks the first official heatwave of 2022.

Already the heat has lead to an uptick in power demand in Texas, where six power generation facilities failed. Texans were asked to conserve power over the weekend. In New Mexico the heat has helped to fuel a massive wildfire that is now the largest in the state’s history.

These extreme temperatures are the result of a dip in the jet stream — the band of air, which would usually carry and distribute this hot air across the eastern part of the U.S.

Heatwaves have increased in frequency in recent years, from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year in the 2010s according to the EPA

And, because heatwaves have also become more intense than they were a few decades ago, it’s imperative that every American know how to navigate this extreme weather.

“Heatwaves and ‘cold’ waves are a natural part of everyday weather,” says Anthony Torres, Currently’s Chief Meteorologist. “However, as we observe gradual increases in average temperatures due to climate change, we see that the common heatwaves end up being that much hotter.”

Currently predicts this heatwave will last for at least the next week, and folks who live in the impacted states can expect to feel temperatures roughly 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than usual for this time of year.

Here are some ways to prepare for, and outlast, this heatwave and others that we might see this year:

  1. Prepare a small emergency kit in case the power goes out, with things like candles and matches or a first aid kit.
  2. Stay hydrated, and drink plenty of water and nourishing foods.
  3. Monitor your health and the weather. Sign up for our SMS/texting service to stay up to date on the weather that’s impacting your area.

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Photo by Paul Cooper via Flickr, Calf Canyon Fire in New Mexico.

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