Millions in US Battle Deadly Heat Wave, Paramedics See Rise in Heat-Related Illnesses, 1,500 Dead in Europe
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One-hundred twenty-four million Americans are under heat alerts, facing temperatures that will climb well into the triple-digits in many areas this week.
Dangerous heat is tightening its hold with 24 states on alert from Texas to Massachusetts.
Records are expected to be broken in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas where the scorching temperatures are fueling wildfires.
Houston is expected to hit above 100 degrees for the next several days. Residents are being asked to limit use of electricity and water.
"We're experiencing a stress on our system because of peak demands with peak weather conditions," said Wayne Larsen of North Texas Municipal Water District.
And as the temperatures keep rising, so are the number of 9-1-1 calls for heat-related illnesses.
"Our average age of a patient right now is 45 years old," said Matt Zavadsky, Chief Strategic Integration Officer with Medstar. "And most of them think oh I'm young. I'm healthy I can handle it. Not this kind of heat."
The brutal temperatures have turned deadly in some areas. Near New Orleans, an on-duty police officer died from a heat-related condition.
In the Northeast, heat advisories are in effect for Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, where power companies are preparing for peak usage.
"Almost 10 years ago, we had Sandy hit this area. We knew then that we had to invest and plan for a grid that needs to withstand higher temperatures and rising sea levels," said Jamie McShane of Con Edison.
On Tuesday, a fire broke out at the Hoover Dam after a transformer exploded, causing concerns about the southwestern region's power grid which is needed for air conditioning in the midst of the dangerous heat wave. Officials said no one was injured and there was no risk to the power grid.
Overseas, officials are warning of a heat apocalypse. Britain shattered its record for highest temperature ever with thermometers hitting 104 degrees on Tuesday.
"You come over and there's nothing happening anywhere, a lot of the food stalls are closed because of the heat, obviously the changing of the guard isn't happening because of the heat," said tourist Ida Hyvonen.
Multiple fires have destroyed several buildings as hot and dry conditions fueled wildfires.
More than 1,500 heat-related deaths have already been reported in mainland Europe.
And here in the U.S., officials at the Climate Prediction Center said the extremely elevated temperatures are not expected to let up until sometime next week.
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