More than 90 million people across the country are subject to various alerts of dangerously high temperatures. Sunday is expected to bring the hottest temperatures in the Northeast.
At least one person died Saturday from exposure to heat, a spokesperson for the New York City medical examiner’s office said. The spokesperson said the person also had other medical problems. The expected high temperature in the city on Saturday was 97 degrees.
Among other heat-related deaths during this week’s heat wave is a 73-year-old man who was found Thursday in a room without air conditioning in Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to a medical examination. He had several underlying medical conditions, including diabetes.
In Dallas, a 66-year-old Dallas woman who also had underlying health conditions died last week, according to county officials. A 22-year-old parker died on Wednesday of possible drought and exposure after the South Dakota National Park ran out of water, officials said.
Cities, including Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, D.C., are set to see heat in the upper 90s, with humidity conditions intensifying to feel as high as triple digits.
Extreme conditions – which experts note are becoming more common around the world due to climate change – have led local officials to issue heat emergencies to allow resources to help with the heat plaguing millions. Officials are also urging people to be extra careful when spending time outdoors, staying hydrated, and checking on vulnerable communities and neighbors.
“High temperature records are expected to be restricted or broken widely from the mid-Atlantic to New England (Sunday) with many places projected to reach the upper 90s and heat indexes to exceed 100 degrees,” the forecast center wrote.
Metro areas are exposed to extreme heat emergencies on Sunday as temperatures rise
Boston has been on an emergency heat warning since Tuesday, and with temperatures still rising in the forecast, Mayor Michelle Wu extended the warning until Monday. The city’s temperature on Sunday afternoon hit 100 degrees, the highest on a calendar day in 89 years.
The city has opened cooling centers, mist platforms, indoor swimming pools, and public library sites for residents to take a break from the heat.
The scorching heat wave caused power outages Sunday to about 7,500 customers in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, Eversource Energy told CNN in a statement. They said the company was able to restore capacity to about 12,500 customers earlier Sunday.
In New York City, where a heat warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday, Con Edison workers were restoring “sporadic outages caused by the scorching heat,” the electric provider said. The company’s website showed about 36 customers without power as of Sunday afternoon.
In Philadelphia, where the high temperature is expected to reach 99 degrees on Sunday, officials extended a health emergency due to the high temperatures. Cooling centers, home visits by special teams and enhanced awareness during the day for people experiencing homelessness during the weekend are available.
To the west, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, more than 10,000 customers were still without power Sunday after storms the day before.
“With another round of storms likely to be expected later today, additional delays and outages are likely,” West Bain Power said. “As higher-than-normal temperatures also affect our service area today, customers should take any necessary steps to stay safe and escape the heat.”
New York Gov. Cathy Hochhol urged people in her state to take advantage of cooling centers and check on particularly vulnerable communities.
“We need everyone to be on the alert this weekend, watch for any signs of heat-related illness and take care of each other,” Hochul said in a press release.
Overheating is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States
In fact, deaths from heat have exceeded deaths from hurricanes by more than 15 to 1 over the past decade, according to data tracked by the National Weather Service.
Part of the problem is the high humidity which makes it feel like over 100 degrees in many areas makes it hard for the body to cool down.
In Maricopa County, Arizona, 29 heat-related deaths have been confirmed since March, according to the county’s Department of Public Health. The Ministry of Health said that last year there were 16 heat-related deaths during the same period. Meanwhile, dozens of other deaths in the county from heat-related causes are being investigated.
New York City sees an average of 10 deaths from heat stress each year, according to a report commissioned by the city’s health department last year. The report found that lack of air conditioning “remains a significant risk factor for heat stress death”.
It is not known whether the person who died on Saturday from exposure to heat had access to the air conditioning.
CNN’s Issa Kaufman Gibal, Halle Brink, Alison Chenchar Rachel Ramirez, William Reilly Benjamin Schiller, and Emily Chang contributed to this report.
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