Texas enters third week of heatwave, with statewide power outage
The power outage is the result of a pattern of destructive storms that cut power and brought the heat dome above Mexico and parts of the US southwest - caused by hot ocean air trapped in the atmosphere.
Texas has been under the mercy of a massive heatwave for the third week, as temperatures soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the US South leaving thousands of people without power and lacking air conditioning.
Corpus Christi in Texas reached 125F (51C), while Rio Grande Village hit 118F (47C) and Del Rio marked 115F (46C). New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri have also witnessed the scorching heat, as the National Weather Service predicts temperatures to increase and last into the week of July 4.
This follows a pattern of destructive storms that cut power and brought the heat dome, as it is known, above Mexico and parts of the US southwest - caused by hot ocean air trapped in the atmosphere.
Andrew Pershing, director of climate science at non-profit Climate Central, said "These conditions are very stressful to the people living in the region. We are seeing a really intense, widespread, and long-lasting event," and further said, "Human-caused climate change made these conditions more than five times more likely."
Excessive Heat Warning and Heat Advisory will be in effect Friday afternoon and evening for south Texas. Heat index values will range from 115-120 in the warning area and 110-115 in the advisory area. pic.twitter.com/IYCdRzU37A— NWS Corpus Christi (@NWSCorpus) June 23, 2023
Texas' power utility urged consumers this week to cut back on air conditioning to alleviate the stress on the grid while emergency crews in Tulsa, Oklahoma, received a record number of calls according to the New York Times. Jackson, Mississippi, residents stated they have not had power and air conditioning for nearly 100 hours, according to NBC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data in the US states that an average of 702 heat-related deaths occur yearly.
69 people perished in Oregon in 2021 due to the heat dome, and on Thursday, a county in Oregon filed a lawsuit against fossil fuel companies, blaming the oil and gas companies responsible for the heatwave.
People of color and low-income residents have been unfortunately bearing the brunt of the heatwave due to their living conditions and living in close proximity to heat-exacerbating industries.
“If you’re struggling financially and worried about paying your electric bill, you might not run your AC long enough, which is going to increase your vulnerability,” Pershing said.
Heatwaves like these “will become more common in the future as we continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas”, he added.
Canada seems to be suffering as well, as it is already battling wildfires that have left thousands people forced to evacuate their homes as wildfires engulfed parts of Alberta, and also causing flooding due to melting snow in British Colombia.