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Heat Wave Alert: Over 130 Million Americans at Risk

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NATIONAL ( WDNews) – An “extremely dangerous and record-breaking” heat wave is sweeping across much of the U.S., affecting around 134 million people, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures are expected to soar above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, reaching into the triple digits in many areas. This includes nearly all of the West Coast, the southern Plains, much of the lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley, and parts of Florida. The Pacific Northwest will also see temperatures rise later this weekend. Arizona continues to sizzle, with firefighters battling a wildfire near Phoenix and residents dealing with burns from scorching hot surfaces. More humid regions will experience a muggy weekend, making it even harder to cool down.

“If it’s both humid and hot, you can’t really rely on sweat to cool you down to a safe level,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.

This dangerous heat wave coincides with ongoing fires in northern California and the holiday weekend, increasing the risk for those celebrating outdoors. Chris Stachelski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, warned, “It’s very easy to get sidetracked,” staying out longer and forgetting to stay hydrated, which increases the risk of heat-related illnesses.

Climate change, driven by human activity, is making heat waves longer and more intense. While more research is needed to link this specific event to climate change, Swain noted that the overall trend is clear. “The pace of record-breaking heat extremes and precipitation extremes is becoming a little bit overwhelming,” he said.

Experts urge people to drink plenty of water and find air conditioning. In a creative plea, Big Sur State Parks used Sabrina Carpenter lyrics to remind hikers to avoid caffeine and alcohol, wear sun protection, and know their trails.

“Heat is an underrated killer,” Swain emphasized, referring to both immediate heat waves and broader global warming trends. “It’s one we’ve long underestimated. And I think we continue to do so at our peril.”