The dog days of summer are officially here after the National Weather Service issued excessive heat advisories for large swaths of the U.S., particularly in the center of the country. The sweltering heat is showing no signs of easing as several places eye triple-digit forecasts for the remainder of the week.
In Texas, the situation is particularly dire. Unlike the rest of the continental U.S., Texas is the only state that has its own power grid and it can come with its own set of issues, particularly during extreme weather. When the power grid in Texas fails, the state is unable to borrow power from neighboring states, which can leave millions of residents at risk.
In February 2021, a failure of the Texas grid led to the deaths of at least 246 people. Unable to find warmth in the middle of an unusual winter storm, people froze to death and lost limbs to frostbite.
Officials try to mitigate outages by reducing strain on the grid. Last week air conditioning was in high use as the state saw soaring temperatures, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas sent emails to customers asking them to conserve electricity for several hours during the hottest times of the day.
Much of the same is expected in the coming week as forecasters predict the state will see triple-digit temperatures for at least the next six days.
While conditions won't be nearly as bad in the eastern U.S., the National Weather Service is still cautioning residents to be careful as highs are expected to rise above 90 degrees throughout the week.
Extreme Heat Is a Global Issue
Surging temperatures aren't limited to the U.S. Europeans are also facing record heat. The UK issued the highest possible heat warning — level 4 — warning residents to avoid going outside if possible. Some rail lines on London's Network Rail are being halted over concerns that tracks could buckle from the intense heat.
In Spain and Portugal, temperatures rose well above 110 degrees, and more than 700 people died as a result of the heat. Staying safe from the heat is only part of the battle for many. Raging wildfires from France to Spain have also displaced thousands of people. Residents in Europe aren't expected to see relief until at least Wednesday.