The brutally hot weather that’s already pushed U.S. Northwest temperatures to record highs is the latest example of searing weather around the globe as climate change drives temperatures to record levels. Canada set an all-time high on Sunday. Moscow last week was its hottest since 1901, and the United Arab Emirates recently hit 125.
The warmth in the Pacific Northwest is building under a so-called heat dome. Kinks in the jet stream have pinned summer weather in place, leading to heat waves and drought, plus storms and flooding elsewhere – all underscoring the risks authorities expect to intensify through the season.
An excessive heat warning is also in effect for Northern California, which is forecast to climb as high as 113 degrees. The state’s power grid operator has warned that it may need to ask for conservation to avoid rolling outages.
The weather frying the Northwest also poured heavy rain across central states and will bring a heat wave to New York and the Northeast, with a string of coming days rising to the 90s. New York’s Central Park should reach 92 on Monday, and the highs should stay above 90 through Wednesday. Heat advisories stretch from Bangor, Maine, where humidity will make temperatures feel more like 100 or higher, down to Philadelphia.
The heat has triggered power grid warnings in the East. The operator of the largest U.S. grid, which stretches from Washington to Chicago, asked transmission and generation owners to suspend maintenance Monday across most areas. The neighboring Midcontinent Independent System Operator did the same.
Power and gas prices climbed across the U.S. Electricity prices at a Pacific Northwest hub for delivery over the weekend and Monday jumped 435% to $334.22 a megawatt-hour on the Intercontinental Exchange, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Some Southern California prices doubled from a day before.
Meanwhile, U.S. natural gas futures rose as much as 3.6% on Monday and reached the highest in more than two years as heat in the Northwest boosted electricity demand.
Flood warnings cover parts of eastern New Mexico and west Texas, as well as Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan as cooler air and rain soak those regions.
Overnight lows in Oregon and Washington are higher in some cases than high readings across the central U.S., according to the Weather Prediction Center’s Oravec.
Excessive heat warnings and advisories stretch across seven Western states from Washington to Arizona. They also cover a much of western Canada, extending up the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories near the Arctic Circle, according to Environment Canada. Lytton, British Columbia, set Canada’s all-time high Sunday at 46.6 degrees Celsius.
The heat in the Northwest is similar to the pattern that led to a California heat wave earlier in June, said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections. “The unusual waviness of the jet stream was associated with a pattern we have been seeing more often in summer, which has been connected to human-caused climate change,” Masters said.