Heat wave: 1,000-plus records fall in US in a week
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Feeling hot? It’s not a mirage. Across the United States, hundreds of heat records have fallen in the past week.
From the wildfire-consumed Rocky Mountains to the bacon-fried sidewalks of Oklahoma, the temperatures are creating consequences ranging from catastrophic to comical.
In the past week, 1,011 records have been broken around the country, including 251 new daily high temperature records on Tuesday.
Those numbers might seem big, but they’re hard to put into context — the National Climatic Data Center has only been tracking the daily numbers broken for a little more than a year, said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the center.
Still, it’s impressive, given that records usually aren’t broken until the scorching months of July and August.
“Any time you’re breaking all-time records in mid- to late-June, that’s a healthy heat wave,” Arndt said.
If forecasts hold, more records could fall in the coming days in the central and western parts of the country, places accustomed to sweating out the summer.
The current U.S. heat wave “is bad now by our current definition of bad,” said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, but “our definition of bad changes. What we see now will be far more common in the years ahead.”
No matter where you are, the objective is the same: stay cool.
Aaron Anderson and his 4-year-old son bypassed the proverbial cooked egg on Tuesday, opting instead to fry bacon on their driveway in Coweta, Okla.
Anderson’s thermometer read 105 degrees around 4:30 p.m., about the same time his son, Aaron Paul, said it felt like his feet were cooking.
Sky-high temperatures aren’t unusual in this part of the country, but it is warm enough this week that five records were set on Tuesday.
Anderson preheated the skillet for 10 minutes in the sun, and it took an hour for the meat to fully cook.
And, yes, they ate it.
“My only regret is it was turkey bacon instead of pork bacon, but that’s all we had,” Anderson said.