Extreme heat put more than 70 million people living in the southwestern part of the U.S. under heat warnings and advisories over the weekend, and the high temperatures, along with increased humidity, is expected to move east this week. The extreme heat, coupled with drought conditions across much of the West, helped fuel multiple wildfires in California, including the Sheep Fire northeast of Los Angeles. In Phoenix, a man grilled burgers and baked a cake on his dashboard. Extreme heat, drought, and the wildfires they supercharge, are all made worse and more frequent by climate change, mainly caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.

Temperatures 10-15°F above average, with 45 million Americans experiencing 100+°F heat, are especially dangerous for people experiencing homelessness, the elderly, those struggling to afford to cool poorly insulated homes, and people who have to work outside. Racist policy decisions disproportionately endanger people of color. The Texas power grid broke its all-time record demand (set in August 2019) on Sunday, June 12, and pest control companies also reported an uptick in service calls as critters scurried (or slithered) into homes.

Grid (Un)reliability

Grid stability in the Midwest is becoming a matter of increasing concern. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which operates power grids from Manitoba to Louisiana warned Friday it will struggle to keep the lights on through the summer of 2024 and beyond.

(Heatwave: Washington Post $, Axios, New York Times $, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times $, Weather Channel, Des Moines Register, CNN, AP, Green Bay Press Gazette, NPR, ABC, AP, The Guardian, Desert Sun, Bloomberg $, The Independent, The Guardian, NBC Nightly News; Summer heat trends: The Guardian; Wildfires, Cali.: LA Times $, USA Today, AP, Mercury News, NBC News; Wildfires, SW US: AP, Axios; Children: Houston Chronicle; Workers: Washington Post $, Houston Public Media, Marketplace; Phoenix Burgers: USA Today, AP; Texas: Texas Tribune, CBS, Dallas Morning News, Al Jazeera, Reuters; MISO: Reuters, WDRB, FOX59, WFYI; Pest control: Texas Public Radio; UC-Davis Graduation: LA Times $, Weather Channel, CBS; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves, Wildfires, Western U.S. megadrought)