Meteorologically, it’s autumn, and yet weather records are likely to be broken this weekend in the southwestern United States. In some places the temperature can reach 118 degrees Fahrenheit, converted to 48 degrees Celsius. The National Weather Service (NWS) speaks of “rare, dangerous and potentially fatal heat“.
At the moment, California already has to deal with forest fires that occupy the second, third and fourth place on the list of largest forest fires ever recorded in the state. They started during a heat wave in August. The drought and heat could cause even more forest fires, warns the NWS.
The temperatures predicted for this weekend have never been so late in the year. In the San Fernando Valley, which borders Los Angeles, it can be as high as 48 degrees. Around this time of the year, it normally reaches a maximum of 35 degrees.
This weekend’s heat wave is potentially even more intense in terms of temperature than the August heat wave. However, the prediction is that the extreme weather will not last as long. After Monday it should be over. Parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado are also affected by the heat wave.
In Colorado, however, the weather can change completely on Tuesday and even start snowing. Climate change increases the chance of extreme weather conditions and extreme changes in a short period of time.
View images of the forest fires that started in California in August:
The heat poses a risk to public health in several ways, writes The Washington Post. Americans who don’t have air conditioning at home can choose to go to cooling centers in some cities. These are refrigerated public spaces to shelter from the heat. But now that the coronavirus is spreading, people may choose to stay at home, at the risk of overheating.
Many Americans have planned to go out this weekend. Monday is Labor Day, giving them a long weekend off. Ideal to go out into nature normally, but because of the extreme weather it is not recommended by meteorologists.
In California, a state of emergency has been declared by the governor. This allows power plants to temporarily exceed their limits, so that there is no power shortage. Citizens are called upon to use electricity sparingly so as not to overload the electricity grid.
Because of loud air-conditioning, the demand for electricity is much higher than normal. In August, the authorities sometimes cut off parts of the state from electricity