Long-running heat wave expected to break more records with over 130M under advisories

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The heat waves that broke records across the nation over the last month are showing no signs of stopping, as more than 130 million people remain under advisories of extreme heat — and temperatures are expected to be 15-30 degrees higher than average into next week

Oppressive heat and humidity may lead to temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit across the U.S. from the Pacific Northwest to the mid-Atlantic regions. Across northeastern California and western Nevada, the National Weather Service said the temperature will not go below 100 F until next week, The Associated Press reported.

For most of June, much of the U.S. has been under heat advisories, with around 270 million people experiencing temperatures at or above 90 degrees. In late June, record-breaking heat hit much of the I-95 corridor, with temperatures above 100 degrees.

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This current heat wave has already scorched much of the West Coast, and Death Valley, Calif. —one of the hottest places on earth — saw its heat record broken Friday with a new high temperature of 127 degrees. According to the AP, the previous record of 122 degrees was last hit in 2013. 

By 9 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service (NWS) had recorded a 98-degree temperature in Phoenix, which saw a record high of 118 Friday. 

The worst is yet to come, with triple-digit temperatures likely through next week, between 15 and 30 degrees higher than the average. Baltimore and other parts of Maryland may hit close to 110 degrees this weekend, per the AP.

Temperatures in Death Valley are expected to climb to 129 degrees Sunday and around 130 on Wednesday. The NWS has also extended a rare heat advisory for the mountains around Lake Taho. 

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Scientists, including the infamous Bill Nye, believe that climate change is exacerbating heat waves across the country, and they warn that extreme heat in the summer might become the “new normal.” 

“It’s the beginning of the new normal, with respect,” Nye said late last month. “So, the latest — the latest research is that there’s not a turning point or a tipping point or a knee in the curve. It’s just going to get hotter and hotter and worse and worse and more and more extreme.”

Without actions to mitigate climate change, heat-related deaths around the world could increase by 370 percent, according to a study from last year.

As the threat of extreme heat continues to grow, President Biden has proposed the nation’s first ever standards aimed at protecting workers from extreme heat. 

If finalized, the proposal would mandate that employers provide rest breaks and access to shade and water for workers who face extreme heat risks. 

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However, it is unclear whether the standards will ever go into effect since they likely will not be finalized before the end of Biden’s first term. Former President Trump, if elected, is not expected to approve these standards.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 436 workers died due to extreme heat exposure, and the Biden administration argues that this rule would save lives. Between 2011 and 2020, there were around 34,000 work-related heat injuries. 

There are currently no federal heat protections for workers.

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