In an alarming development, the National Weather Service (NWS) has warned of an incessant heat wave tormenting Texas and New Mexico with scorching temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This harsh heat is not only staying put but is also set to invade the Mississippi Valley and extend north towards the central Plains in the coming week.
The NWS’s weather forecasts indicate that this relentless heat wave will likely worsen, potentially lingering into the week of July 4th. With this escalating situation, the existing state record in Texas could be in jeopardy, facing the risk of being equaled or even surpassed before the heat wave finally subsides in July.
According to estimates, as this oppressive heat expands its reach to Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri, around 40 million people may find themselves under heat alerts by the middle of next week. For those residing near the Gulf Coast, the risk escalates with the danger of enduring extended periods of intense heat and stifling humidity.
This intense combination of heat and humidity can induce heat stress, as the WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) skyrockets. This isn’t just about how hot it feels on your skin, but it also considers humidity, wind speed, sun angle, and cloud cover.
Here’s how it works. The WBGT is determined using a thermometer with a water-soaked cloth covering its bulb. As the air flows past the cloth, it evaporates the water, creating a lower “wet bulb” temperature due to evaporative cooling.
Multiple agencies, including military organizations and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), utilize the WBGT as a standard to manage workload in direct sunlight. The current situation serves as a stark reminder of the impact of climate change and our responsibility to take action. For young and millennial readers of The Young Turks, this is another call to activism and commitment to environmental sustainability.