Why the U.S. is Still Sweating Out Heat Waves in September

Written by on September 13, 2015 in Climate Change, Environment with 12 Comments

Ryan Koronowski | Think Progress


Labor Day weekend usually means that the U.S. is done with heat waves for the summer. But not this year.

Southern California hit well over 100 degrees Wednesday, putting it easily on its way to a heat wave — which technically means three consecutive days of 90 degrees or more. Citing expected temperatures of 102 to 108 degrees, the National Weather Service put out an “Excessive Heat Warning” Wednesday.

“Maximum temperatures will reach dangerous levels across much of Southern California this week,” it read. “While the afternoon temperatures will present the greatest danger, overnight temperatures will be quite warm as well and will not allow for much relief.”

Wednesday, September 9, was the hottest day of the year in Los Angeles. The air conditioning stopped working in classrooms across the city, stifling students with sometimes 90-degree temperatures inside and sending some to the hospital. Coronado schools announced they would close early for the second straight day on Thursday due to the heat wave.

Heading farther north provided Californians with little relief, as Sacramento faced forecasts of 107 degree highs on Friday. All this heat does not bode well for the massive drought impacting the state, 92 percent of which has been categorized as being in “severe drought” by the U.S. Drought Monitor. California’s four-year-long drought, influenced by climate change, has impacted farm workers, the global food system, and the economy. Wildfires, spurred on by intense drought and heat, have left 17,000 without power — dangerous during a heat wave.

New York City’s Central Park broke a 96-year-old heat record Tuesday, while the rest of the metro region baked under record temperatures as high as 98 degrees, which felt like over 100 degrees with the humidity factored in. The high temperatures are not helping New Jersey, which is struggling with a short recent drought of its own, threatening crops and lawns. South Jersey was categorized as “abnormally dry” by the U.S. Drought Monitor after less than an inch of rain fell in August.


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12 Reader Comments

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  1. 10207814416269062@facebook.com' Alison Haystaff says:

    We need to care for this beautiful planet, if not it will only get worse!

  2. 10204812879829483@facebook.com' Scott Robb says:

    “Labor Day weekend usually means that the U.S. is done with heat waves for the summer. But not this year.”

    That’s not true at all for California. I have lived in California for all of my life and September has always been the hottest month of the year. I’ve spent a summer in North Carolina and two summers in Helena, Montana and September has ALWAYS held the hottest days of the year. Try researching first before posting!

  3. 10204812879829483@facebook.com' Scott Robb says:

    I’m not discounting the obvious impact of climate change this summer. I’m just saying that September through October usually the hottest part of the year here.

  4. 10153497503934494@facebook.com' Brandon Broach says:

    Hot in late August to early October is the norm here in the Bay Area (Cali)…if there is such thing as “normal” weather.

  5. 181519145513003@facebook.com' Wendy Imogene Caplinger says:

    in my oppinion this just happenes from time to time, or perhaps the earth has tipped off its axes point and may soon fly into the sun. but if that is the cse i wonder if we put some of the earths inner core and fly around the planet real fast if it would’nt even things out. now this is when i say idk.

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