Many people dead as ‘extreme temperatures’ rage southern US

Heat-related causes deaths in Texas and Louisiana as extreme temperatures continue to rage across the country. According to local officials, 11 of the dead were in Webb County, Texas, on the Mexican border. Hundreds more Texas residents were taken to the emergency room, breaking previous records.

The current weather is the result of a thermal dome in which high pressure is trapped by the wind. In Webb Country centered on the city of Laredo the number of heat-related deaths ranged from 60 to 80.

“We don’t see that in our county,” county medical examiner Dr Corinne Stern said at a meeting of local officials on Tuesday. “Laredo knows the heat. Webb County knows the heat. And I think our county was caught off guard.

“This is unprecedented temperatures here due to this high-pressure dome.” Among the dead were a man and his 14-year-old son-in-law, who died hiking in Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that Texas averaged about 837 heat-related visits per 100,000 visits between June 18 and 24, compared with about 639 in same period last year.

Two other deaths a 62-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man were also caused by heat in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, according to CBS, the BBC’s US partner. Pregnant, living in a car, and battling a heatwave in Texas And five bodies have been found in a busy human trafficking corridor in three parts of the New Mexico desert.

Authorities have not revealed whether these deaths are directly related to the heat. The current heat wave is the result of a relatively rare “heat dome” phenomenon that occurs only every few years in the southern United States.

In a thermal dome, high pressure is trapped in a specific area by wind patterns, extending from 5 to 10 miles (8 to 16 km) in altitude and extending for hundreds of thousands of miles horizontally.

Meteorologists predict the heat wave will continue to spread over the next few days, especially in the southern United States and the Mississippi Valley.

Swathes of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas and Missouri and other states continue to face heat advice. Warmer-than-average temperatures are also forecast for the rest of the week in New Mexico, Georgia and Florida.

The heat prompted federal health officials and the National Weather Service to warn residents in affected areas to limit outdoor activities and stay in air-conditioned areas as much as possible.

According to CDC statistics, an average of 702 heat-related deaths occur in the United States each year, with nearly 68,000 people being taken to the emergency room.

Scientists say heat waves have become more intense and longer lasting as a result of human-caused climate change.

The world has warmed about 1.1°C since the start of the industrial age, and scientists predict that temperatures will continue to rise unless governments around the world drastically reduce emissions.

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