Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (2024)


Andy Newman

Here’s what to know about the heat.

Nearly 100 million Americans are under an excessive-heat advisory on the first day of summer, the fourth sweltering day of a heat wave that has blanketed much of the eastern United States, including many communities unaccustomed to temperatures that climbed into the mid-to-upper 90s. Relief was in sight for some parts of the country, particularly New England, but New York City and the Mid-Atlantic were expected to have to sweat it out through the weekend.

A high-pressure system called a heat dome continued to scorch cities in a vast swath of the country from the lower Midwest to the Northeast, with cities from Terre Haute, Ind., to Bar Harbor, Maine, facing stifling temperatures. More than a half-dozen communities, mostly in northern New England, were poised to become the latest to meet or exceed record highs, and a number of school districts around New York City sent students home early because of the heat.

Here are the details:

  • Caution urged: The National Weather Service’s “heat risk map” for Thursday is stained deep purple, for the highest risk category, across much of Ohio, northeast Indiana, southern Maine and New Hampshire and New York’s Southern Tier. Many of the areas affected are rural, and such communities often lack the kinds of cooling programs used in more urban areas. Read how people in a rural part of Indiana are looking out for each other.

  • School’s out for some: A number of school districts in the New York City suburbs sent students home early on Thursday because of the high temperatures. The city’s schools — which are in session until next Wednesday — were operating as normal. “We’re fortunate that, for the most part, our instructional spaces, our classrooms, have air conditioning,” said Daniel Weisberg, the first deputy chancellor for the city school system. The vast majority of students, he said, will not be “feverishly fanning themselves.”

  • A blistering heat dome: The meteorological phenomenon, a high-pressure system in the outer reaches of the atmosphere, has locked the heat in place and toppled records. Twenty daily high-temperature records were tied or broken at National Weather Service observation sites on Tuesday and Wednesday. Elkins, W.Va., in the Appalachian Mountains, set record highs on both days. Read about the records.

  • Hot nights: Perhaps even worse than daytime highs for those without air-conditioning, record warm overnight temperatures on Thursday “will prevent natural cooling and allow the heat danger to build over time,” the Weather Service said. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to the heat.

  • When will it end?: That depends where you are. The Weather Service said that conditions in New England should improve by Friday, when a cold front moves in. New York will remain sultry through the weekend, and the Mid-Atlantic should continue to have temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal into Sunday, with a brief reprieve on Monday — though this could be short-lived, as higher temperatures are likely to return to the region by midweek.

  • Next up, the Great Plains: The worst is yet to come for cities like Wichita, Kan., and Lincoln, Neb., which have been spared so far this year. By early next week, they will see heat indexes over 100.

Judson Jones contributed reporting.

June 20, 2024, 7:00 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 7:00 p.m. ET

Liam Stack

Nearly 100 million under temperature advisories as heat wave lingers.


Almost 100 million people across the United States spent the first day of summer on Thursday sweltering in temperatures that topped 90 degrees, as meteorologists warned that the high-pressure system that scorched the country for the past four days would linger through the weekend in many places.

The heat shattered temperature records and altered daily routines from the Midwest river valleys to the pine forests of New England, and left roughly one-third of Americans under extreme heat advisories, warnings or watches on Thursday, according to the National Integrated Heat Health Information System.

In rural Indiana, sheriff’s deputies conducted wellness checks on older residents. In Maine, officials urged homeless people to make use of cooling centers. And in the New York region, students left school early — some because their schools closed at midday, and others because worried parents took matters into their own hands.

Simone Machado pulled her son Bryan, 10, out of school at Ann Street Elementary School in Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, early on Thursday because of the heat. By the time she got there, a bright red heat rash had already bloomed across his neck.

His fourth-grade classroom was “very, very hot,” Bryan said. He was afraid to go back to school on Friday, when temperatures in Newark are forecast to reach almost 100 degrees, but at least it will be the last day of school before summer vacation.

“I don’t want to go. The rashes are going to get worse and worse,” he said. “School’s over tomorrow, thankfully.”


Across town at West Side High School, Jahsir Graham, 15, said that sitting inside his school without air-conditioning had been “excruciatingly painful.”

“It feels like you’re in a boiling pot of water,” he said.

The National Weather Service said on Thursday that the heat wave “will continue over the next several days” and that temperatures could rise even higher still, skirting 100 degrees in some places, especially urban areas in the Northeast.

The heat wave is expected to peak over the weekend in the Northeast, but not until early next week in the South and the Great Plains, the Weather Service said.

Indeed, in some places the worst may be yet to come, including Wichita, Kan., and Lincoln, Neb., where by early next week heat indexes are forecast to reach 100 degrees.

The heat is expected to peak on Friday and Saturday in the Ohio Valley and the Midwest, the Weather Service said. That was promising news in rural Union County, Ind., which borders Ohio and has about 7,000 residents.

The county sheriff, Jeff Adams, said that just about everyone there knows one another. That can make it easier to keep tabs on those vulnerable to the punishing weather, including older residents and those in poor health.

“That can be a double-edged sword, but during this heat, it’s helpful,” he said. “I can tell if they have picked up their mail or whether their curtains are open.”


In Liberty, the county seat, some public employees shifted their work schedules in a concession to the scorching temperatures, clocking in at 5 a.m. instead of their regular 7 a.m. and heading home at 2 p.m., officials said.

At Kehila Coffee in Liberty, the owner, Dara Finch, said customers were also changing their behavior to beat the heat, forsaking hot coffee in favor of something cool.

“I’m selling a lot of iced lattes, and people are buying two drinks,” she said. “One for now, and one for later.”

The heat wave is especially dangerous because of its long duration, the persistence of high temperatures after sunset and the forecast of little cloud cover over the next few days, the Weather Service said.

“Those without access to reliable air-conditioning are urged to find a way to cool down as overnight temperatures will be very warm,” it said on Thursday.

Meteorologists said the heat wave was caused by a heat dome, a high-pressure system in the atmosphere that creates and traps heat like a lid on a pot that holds in steam.


The high-pressure system pushes warm air toward the ground, and the more the air is compressed, the hotter it gets, said Greg Carbin, forecast operations chief at the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

By Thursday, all that pressure and heat had already broken or tied temperature records in at least 20 cities across the country, according to the National Weather Service, including Boston, Chicago and Hartford, Conn.

Reporting was contributed by Isabella Grullón Paz, Camille Baker, Nate Schweber, Tim Balk and Kevin Williams.

Heat index forecast for Thursday

Data as of 6:35 a.m. on June 20, 2024. See more detailed maps and charts ›

Caution Feels like 80°-90°

Extreme caution 90°-103°

Danger 103°-125°

Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (3)
















































Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationThe New York Times



For firefighter recruits in Indianapolis, a much sweatier training day.

The heat index was 93 degrees when a group of recruits for the Indianapolis Fire Department suited up under a blazing sun and walked into a simulated two-story residence fire on Thursday. The temperature inside a so-called burn room can reach 980 degrees.

“Imagine putting on a snowsuit and then practically crawling inside of an oven,” Andrew Semethy, 31, said. But he’s not complaining.

“I love being out here. I would keep burning another week if they’d let us.”

While most people in Indianapolis took shelter from the heat this week, the 64 future firefighters pushed through, with safety precautions in place.

Instructors cut the number of daily training fires, or live burns, to five from seven because of the heat wave. Two weeks ago, they started monitoring recruits’ temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and pulse oximetry (a measure of oxygen in the blood) twice a day. Recruits must report what they are eating and the color of their urine to ensure they are well fed and hydrated.

“I eat a lot of my calories the night before,” Justen Vawter, 29, said. “Last night was a pretty good-sized helping of spaghetti and some chocolate banana bread. I’ve got three toddlers, so we try to keep it simple some days.”

He compares a live burn to a sauna, except you’re crawling around on your hands and knees with fire overhead.

“The heat takes everything out of you,” said Sam Kraeszig, the Indianapolis Fire Department’s division chief of training. “It’s not just the fire; it’s the environment that we’re dealing with,” he continued. “We don’t just fight fires from the inside. Sometimes we’re on the roof or throwing ladders. We still have to have all that gear on to be prepared.”

Fire gear is designed to absorb heat before it reaches the body, but when the outside temperature is 90, a firefighter retains that heat when putting on the suit.

Friday will be the recruits’ last day of live burn training. The group will graduate on July 18 and hit the street for the department the next day, right in the middle of the city’s hottest month.

June 20, 2024, 5:45 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 5:45 p.m. ET

Tim Balk

Some schools near New York City dismissed students early.


Students were dismissed early in at least a half-dozen school districts near New York City on Thursday as temperatures reached the mid-90s in the region, but the city’s largely air-conditioned public school system did not alter its schedule.

Two districts just north of the city, Pelham and Yonkers, gave some of their students an early taste of summer break, dismissing by noon. The districts said they would operate on half-day schedules again on Friday.

“Please understand that this is not a decision that was made lightly,” Cheryl Champ, the Pelham Public Schools superintendent, said in a message to families, adding that district schools with air-conditioning would continue to operate in the afternoon.

Yonkers Public Schools, which serves about 24,000 students, said it had dismissed all pre-K through eighth-grade students, but had not granted a half day to high school students who were taking exams.

Farther north, a cascade of Hudson Valley districts — including the Arlington Central School District, the Beacon City School District, the East Ramapo Central School District and the Haldane Central School District — sent students home early Thursday and said they planned to do so again on Friday.

Paul Finch, Arlington’s interim superintendent, said in a message to families that the heat in classrooms in many schools could reach “uncomfortable levels” after several days with temperatures above 90 degrees.

The New York City public school system, which breaks for the summer on June 26, brushed off the heat. The “vast majority” of classrooms in city schools have air-conditioning, said Daniel Weisberg, the first deputy schools chancellor.

“The students will not be there feverishly fanning themselves like we were when were going to public school,” Mr. Weisberg, 61, promised in a news conference, referring to earlier decades when the city’s schools were not equipped with air-conditioning.

The schools chancellor, David Banks, said the city did not want children to be “in rooms that are steaming hot.”

The administration of former Mayor Bill de Blasio prioritized installing air-conditioning in school classrooms. As recently as 2017, one in four classrooms in the city’s school system lacked air-conditioning, before the city began a $29 million effort to close the gap.

Still, some suburban school districts lag behind the city. In Pelham, Superintendent Champ said that she understood that a lack of air-conditioning had become a more significant issue for the district. A facilities committee will meet to consider solutions, she said.

The United States has experienced longer and more frequent heat waves in recent decades as the planet warms, according to government data.

The New York State Legislature passed a bill this month that would prevent schools from using classrooms if their temperatures reached 88 degrees. A spokesman for Gov. Kathy Hochul, Avi Small, said the governor would review the legislation.

Assemblyman Chris Eachus, the bill’s sponsor and an Orange County Democrat who worked for decades as a teacher, said he hoped the heat spell would spur the governor to authorize the legislation.

“You can’t teach in that type of temperature,” Mr. Eachus said.



June 20, 2024, 5:28 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 5:28 p.m. ET

Kate Selig

Thousands in the Detroit suburbs remain without power after Wednesday’s storms.


Amid the heat wave, over 34,000 people are still without power in Southeast Michigan after powerful storms hammered that region on Wednesday night.

In Oakland County, which contains many of Detroit’s northern suburbs, about 24,000 residents were without power on Thursday afternoon. In the bordering Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties, an additional 10,000 were waiting for their power to be restored.

Parts of the southern half of the state have already endured a string of days with temperatures in the 90s, with the heat expected to linger through the weekend. The high temperatures, combined with high humidity, have increased the risk of heat-related illnesses, and the risk grows with every day that passes with elevated temperatures, according to the National Weather Service’s heat advisories for the region.

In Detroit, the temperature reached a high of 92 degrees on Thursday afternoon. The heat index is forecast to remain in the 90s through the weekend.

DTE Energy, the Detroit-based energy company that serves the area, has restored power for about half of the 69,000 customers who lost it Wednesday night, said Brian Calka, vice president of the company’s distribution operations business unit.

He said the company recognized that losing power was “really inconvenient right now, given the heat.”

Mr. Calka estimated that about 80 percent of the customers who lost power during the storms would have their power restored by the end of Thursday, adding that the rest of the customers should have power by the end of Friday. The company has brought in crews from Ohio, Illinois and Indiana to help, he said.

But Mr. Calka warned that the weather could bring more damage overnight. The National Weather Service has issued severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of the state.

“It’s still hot here, still muggy, still a lot of energy in the atmosphere,” he said. “The metro Detroit area is still in the cross hairs.”

June 20, 2024, 5:09 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 5:09 p.m. ET

Liam Stack and Nate Schweber

Schools in Newark, N.J., are struggling to keep students cool.


As the school year winds to a close in Newark, some students are celebrating for a perhaps unexpected reason. For many, classes letting out for the summer means a chance to cool down.

Over the last several days, the heat wave has made staying inside some of the city’s aging school buildings, some of which lack working air-conditioning, almost unbearable.

Simone Machado pulled her son Bryan, 10, out of school at Ann Street Elementary early on Thursday because she was worried about how he would handle the heat. By the time she got there, a bright red rash had already bloomed across his neck.

He said his fourth-grade classroom was “very, very hot.” He was afraid to go back on Friday, he said, when temperatures in Newark were forecast to reach almost 100 degrees. The only silver lining was that it would be the last day of school.

“I don’t want to go, the rashes are going to get worse and worse,” he said. “School’s over tomorrow, thankfully.”

Newark’s mayor issued a “code red” warning as temperatures hit the high 90s, and the city encouraged residents to find recreational centers or pools to cool down.

A spokeswoman for the Newark Board of Education, Nancy J. Deering, said it was monitoring schools during the heat wave. “Even on the hottest days, our classrooms are safe and well ventilated,” she said in an emailed statement, noting that many schools have “well-functioning” cooling systems.

“In the dozens of schools that are in aging facilities without air-conditioning throughout, fans are provided as needed,” she added.

Andre Teixeira also rushed to Ann Street Elementary School in the Ironbound, a working-class neighborhood, to pick up his child early. When he got there his daughter, Amelie, 6, was dripping with sweat. When asked how she felt, she replied simply: “Hot.”

Mr. Teixeira said the heat in the school frustrated him.


“It’s disappointing,” he said. “And this is considered one of the best schools in the Ironbound.”

Studies have shown that heat can hurt learning. New Jersey has funded some new buildings, the news outlet Chalkbeat has reported, but many of the city’s older school buildings — some of which are over a hundred years old — remain in disrepair.

In her statement, Ms. Deering said that updating the city’s older school facilities was “a priority.” She added: “We have also prioritized providing air-conditioning in large spaces such as cafeterias to provide temporary relief and limited outdoor activities as necessary.”

At West Side High School, across town from Ann Street, students loped out of the building as the school day ended. Jahsir Graham, 15, said that being in class felt “like you’re in a boiling pot of water.”

“It’s excruciatingly painful,” he said.

Nearby, Mamina Napoleon, 18, said that over the years she had spent studying inside Newark’s sweltering schools, she had learned to conserve her energy to avoid overheating.

“I just walk really slow,” she said. “Because I learn that when I walk fast I get even hotter.”



June 20, 2024, 4:53 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 4:53 p.m. ET

Claire Fahy

A malfunctioning circuit breaker caused widespread service disruptions for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit on Thursday. Tracks lost power, leading Amtrak to suspend all service between New Haven and Philadelphia. One group of passengers was stranded in Queens on a powerless train without air-conditioning as temperatures reached 90 degrees. After first announcing 60-minute train delays, New Jersey Transit eventually suspended service into and out of Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan as crews worked to fix an overhead wire problem.

June 20, 2024, 5:06 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 5:06 p.m. ET

Claire Fahy

Complicating the outage further, a brush fire broke out along the New Jersey Transit tracks near County Road in New Jersey, where repair crews were working.

June 20, 2024, 6:31 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 6:31 p.m. ET

Claire Fahy

By Thursday evening, Amtrak announced that service had been restored with significant delays. The agency added that the brush fire in New Jersey had been extinguished. Trains were operating at reduced speeds.

June 20, 2024, 4:47 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 4:47 p.m. ET

Hilary Howard

New York City is not officially in a heat wave just yet. The National Weather Service defines a heat wave as three days or more with temperatures of 90 degrees or higher. Today it hit 90 degrees in Central Park for the first time this week. The next three days, however, are expected to exceed the 90 degrees mark, according to the National Weather Service.

June 20, 2024, 4:14 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 4:14 p.m. ET

Dionne Searcey

It can be harder to beat the heat in rural parts of the country.


Large parts of the nation are boiling this week, including areas that are not accustomed to mid-June heat waves. In many cities, residents cooled off in shady parks, jumped in public pools, or hydrated with cold water that paramedics and police officers handed out at busy intersections or inside public transportation hubs — all tactics health officials encourage to help avoid heat-related illnesses.

But in Caribou, Maine, all the folding chairs were empty on Wednesday a cooling center for the rural area’s many elderly residents, even though three air-conditioners were blasting a frigid breeze.

Experts say the kinds of strategies that are common in cities with large populations don’t work as well in more rural areas, where people are far more spread out and much harder to reach.

“We’re missing a large swath of our society, and a swath that typically has higher levels of chronic disease, older populations and lower income,” said Kevin Lanza, an assistant professor of environmental science at UTHealth Houston in Austin. “All three are factors increasing the serious risk on rural communities in the face of climate change.”

Parts of Maine, Wisconsin and even North Dakota and Alaska are considered among the nation’s most socially vulnerable to extreme heat exposure, according to research by the U.S. Census Bureau. That is partly because they are far less accustomed to — and less prepared for — extreme heat.

Gary Marquis, the superintendent of the Caribou Parks and Recreation Department, said officials had asked him just one other time in the past to open a cooling center inside Caribou’s community recreation center, about two years ago. No one came then, either, he said.

Researchers who study heat have focused on tactics to offer relief for urban areas not only because of their population density, but because, with their miles of dark asphalt and widespread lack of trees, cities become hotter than the surrounding countryside. Developing new strategies to bring relief from the heat to rural areas has been neglected.

“Cooling centers and such work in urban areas, but they don’t work so well in rural settings,” said Ashley Ward, the director of the Heat Policy Innovation Hub at Duke University, whose work focuses on the health impacts of climate extremes and community resilience.

People who need help may live far from libraries, police departments and fire halls that serve as cooling centers in smaller towns. “We need interventions that fit the environment,” she said. “We need to do better.”



Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (14)

June 20, 2024, 4:13 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 4:13 p.m. ET

Kevin Williams

An iconic amusem*nt park in the Cleveland area for over 70 years, the Memphis Kiddie Park announced it was closing for the day because of the extreme heat. The park, in the Cleveland suburb of Brooklyn, features 11 rides.

Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (15)

June 20, 2024, 4:00 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 4:00 p.m. ET

Casey Patrick

Reporting from Indianapolis

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management announced Thursday afternoon that ground-level ozone pollution or fine particulate matter could grow to unhealthy levels in most of the state through at least Friday. The agency encouraged people more vulnerable to ozone to take precautions. High temperatures in Indianapolis are expected to reach 95 degrees on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (16)

June 20, 2024, 2:45 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 2:45 p.m. ET

Tim Balk

More than 99 million Americans are under extreme heat advisories, warnings or watches, according to, the National Integrated Heat Health Information System. Overall, about 30 percent of the U.S. population is under one of the notices. Some of the highest-risk areas are in New England, upstate New York, Indiana and Ohio.

Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (17)

June 20, 2024, 2:30 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 2:30 p.m. ET

Austyn Gaffney

It is certain that 2024 will be among the five warmest years on record, and there is a 50-50 chance of it being the warmest ever on record, according to Karin Gleason of the National Centers for Environmental Information at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (18)

June 20, 2024, 5:59 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 5:59 p.m. ET

Austyn Gaffney

Almost a dozen extreme weather events and winter weather events have cost the United States $25 billion and led to at least 84 fatalities as of June 10, according to new data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest global climate report, which was released on Thursday.



June 20, 2024, 2:02 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 2:02 p.m. ET

Katie Mogg

How to sleep better in the heat.


A heat wave has scorched the Northeast, South, and Midwest this week, and those dangerously high temperatures can make it hard to sleep.

Studies show that extreme heat can affect both how much you sleep and how good that sleep is, said Chad Milando, a research scientist at the Center for Climate and Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. He and other experts said the people who are most vulnerable to poor sleep during a heat wave are low-income families who don’t have air-conditioning in their homes, as well as older adults or people with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to heat-related illness.

That’s why when temperatures rise, it’s essential to have a plan to keep cool when you sleep.

How Heat Affects Sleep

The body’s core temperature naturally drops during sleep, but hot environments can prevent the body from properly cooling. Studies also suggest that lower ambient temperatures signal to your body that it’s time to rest.

If the temperature in your bedroom is too high, it may be difficult to fall asleep, and you may wake up more frequently throughout the night, said Dr. Michael Irwin, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. You may also get less restorative sleep, he added.

To help your body regulate its temperature, your bedroom should ideally be between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, said Rebecca Robbins, an assistant professor of medicine in the sleep medicine division at Harvard Medical School. If your room is far hotter, you may wake up throughout the night, particularly during the stages of sleep when it’s not possible for the body to regulate its own temperature, she said.

“When exposed to extremes, we’re likely to wake ourselves up in order to shiver or wake ourselves up in order to sweat,” Dr. Robbins said.

Set Yourself Up for a Good Night’s Rest

There are steps you can take to sleep better during a heat wave, beyond just turning on air-conditioning, experts said.

“Sleeping well at night starts with staying hydrated and cool during the day,” Dr. Milando said. Drinking plenty of water when it is hot outside ensures that your body has enough fluid to cool down. When you’re dehydrated, you sweat less, and it becomes easier to overheat.

You can also keep your home cooler by closing your blinds or curtains to filter out direct sunlight, experts said. Keeping air circulating in your bedroom can also help. If you don’t have an air-conditioner, install a fan in an open window, which will help bring in the cooler air from outside, Dr. Robbins said.

To lower your body temperature before bed, place a damp rag on your forehead, Dr. Irwin said. “The moisture in that rag is going to evaporate across the night,” he said. But avoid ice packs, experts said, since placing them on your skin for too long can damage skin or cause frostbite.

Dr. Robbins recommended sleeping under a thin top sheet, which can promote airflow and make it easier to stick out your limbs out from under the sheet when you feel too warm. Pajamas should also be thin and loose to avoid trapping in heat. But when it’s extremely hot, “it might be a good time to try your birthday suit,” Dr. Robbins said.

If you are struggling to sleep peacefully during a heat wave, resist the urge to toss and turn in bed — it’ll only make you hotter, Dr. Robbins said.

“Try not to kick yourself for being awake, which we can all do,” she said. “Maybe get up, use the bathroom, try to keep the lights low, and then come back to your bedroom when you’re tired and get into bed when you are ready to sleep.”

June 20, 2024, 1:53 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:53 p.m. ET

Hilary Howard

All official training sessions for the New York City Marathon have been canceled today because of high heat, humidity, and air quality concerns, according to a statement issued by the New York Road Runners, the organizer of the race.

June 20, 2024, 1:44 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:44 p.m. ET

Kevin Williams

In rural Indiana, residents adjust their schedules and keep an eye on their neighbors.


Heat hits rural small towns differently than cities. In downtowns and sprawling suburbs, many people go about their business and don’t know one another. In Union County, Ind., which has about 7,000 residents and borders Ohio, everyone knows one another, said the county sheriff, Jeff Adams.

“That can be a double-edged sword, but during this heat, it’s helpful,” he said.

Sheriff Adams said that he knows most of the older residents in the county and can keep an eye on them. “I can tell if they have picked up their mail or whether their curtains are open,” he said. Between him and his eight deputies, he added, there isn’t anybody in the county who isn’t known by the sheriff’s department.

So far, he said, there haven’t been issues with older people affected by the heat. But the weather does present challenges for his law enforcement team.

Wearing dark uniforms in the sun takes its toll, he said. “And when you are wearing a bulletproof vest, it can cook you.”

In a concession to the heat, Sheriff Adams allows his deputies to wear shorts on these very hot days.

“But I still won’t wear them,” he said.

Sheriff Adams said that small Indiana towns like his were used to the heat and had learned to adapt. “You learn to adjust your schedule to the heat,” he said.

In Liberty, the county seat, the street department has started work this week at 5 a.m. instead of its regular 7 a.m. start time, and employees clock out by 2 p.m. The county highway department has moved shifts earlier too, coming in at 6 a.m.

And life in Liberty goes on. Gary and Austin Barrett, a father and son, were power-washing Liberty’s stately 19th-century courthouse with its towering limestone spires. Austin Barrett estimated that it would take 10,000 gallons of water to get the 130-foot-tall structure’s exterior back into pristine shape.

And across the street at Kehila Coffee, the owner, Dara Finch, wasn’t selling as much hot coffee.

“I’m selling a lot of iced lattes, and people are buying two drinks,” she said. “One for now, and one for later.”



Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (22)

June 20, 2024, 1:38 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:38 p.m. ET

Kate Selig

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for parts of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The watch includes the eastern portions of New Hampshire and Maine that were forecast to have dangerous heat index values of 103 degrees or higher on Thursday. The watch is in effect until 8 p.m. and warns of the potential for scattered gusts of up to 70 miles per hour, hail the size of quarters and frequent lightning.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for parts of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont until 8 PM EDT

— NWS Gray (@NWSGray) June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024, 1:23 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:23 p.m. ET

John Keefe

Heat isn’t the only weather news today: Wildfires in New Mexico have killed two people and burned 500 homes; flash floods in the same area prompted thousands to evacuate; and what remains of Tropical Storm Alberto, now a tropical depression, has caused floods in Mexico and Texas.


Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (24)

June 20, 2024, 1:22 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:22 p.m. ET

Robert Chiarito

Reporting from Chicago

Chicago’s Lincoln Square was filled with outdoor diners and others who wanted to enjoy a break from the heat.

Jim Stier, a 65-year-old retired urban forester who was sitting outside at a cafe reading a book, said he avoided going outside during the afternoon over the last few days.

“Right now it’s perfect but I heard it’s going to get hot again tomorrow for a few more days,” Stier said.

June 20, 2024, 1:16 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:16 p.m. ET

Tim Balk

The heat wave has set records in Boston, Chicago and other cities.


As the Northeast and Midwest swelter in this week’s early-season heat wave, a number of longstanding daily records for high temperatures have fallen.

A high of 98 degrees was recorded in Boston on Wednesday, topping a record of 96 degrees set in 1923 for the same day of the year, according to the National Weather Service. Wednesday was Boston’s sixth-hottest June day on record.

A high of 97 degrees in Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday likewise set a daily local record, exceeding the previous high from 1995, the Weather Service reported.

Overall, 20 daily high-temperature records were tied or broken at National Weather Service observation sites on Tuesday and Wednesday, the agency said.

The temperature hit a reported 97 degrees at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Monday, eclipsing a previous record of 96 degrees for that day.

Communities at higher altitudes have not been spared.

The small, leafy city of Elkins, W.Va., in the Appalachian Mountains, set record highs on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the temperature reaching 90 degrees on Wednesday, the Weather Service said. The previous record for the date in Elkins was 89 degrees.

Jerry Marco, the mayor of Elkins, said the weather was “very, very unusual” in the city of some 7,000.

“People are coming together to make sure that their neighbors are taken care of,” Mr. Marco said.

Many other cities and towns have tied or approached records.

Locales that have matched records include Wheeling, W.Va., where it was 95 degrees on Tuesday; Albany, N.Y., where the temperature hit 94 degrees on Wednesday; and Caribou, Maine, which experienced 96-degree heat on Wednesday, according to the Weather Service.

In Caribou, in the northeast corner of Maine, near the U.S. border with Canada, the heat index was reported at 103 degrees on Wednesday, an unofficial record. The heat index is a measure of how the air feels when accounting for humidity.

More records may yet fall. The peak of the heat wave is forecast to arrive in New England on Thursday, and the worst of the weather may not reach the Mid-Atlantic until the weekend. The temperature in Philadelphia is forecast to flirt with triple digits on Saturday and Sunday.

The Weather Service projected a high for Philadelphia on Sunday of 99 degrees, which, if reached, would break a record for the date of 97 degrees set in 1888.



Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (26)

June 20, 2024, 1:13 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:13 p.m. ET

Tim Balk

Some school districts near New York City ended their day early on Thursday because of the heat. Districts that dismissed early included Yonkers and Pelham, just north of the city. “Please understand that this is not a decision that was made lightly,” the Pelham Public Schools superintendent, Cheryl Champ, said in a message.

June 20, 2024, 1:06 p.m. ET

June 20, 2024, 1:06 p.m. ET

Alyce McFadden

Most New York City pools are still closed as temperatures soar.


Outdoor public pools in New York City won’t open until June 27, leaving residents with fewer options to find refuge from this week’s heat wave.

The city’s 53 public outdoor pools are popular destinations in the summer. The pools, which are dotted across all five boroughs and are free to use, were visited more than one million times in 2022, according to city data. But this week, with temperatures climbing into the 90s, New Yorkers will have to seek out other destinations to cool off.

Mayor Eric Adams announced on Tuesday that the city would devote $1 billion to improving the city’s network of public pools over the next five years, though the new funding won’t help sweltering residents this year. Eventually, it will cover the costs of building two new indoor pools and renovating existing facilities.

“New York City’s pools and beaches are incredible places for New Yorkers to come together, learn to swim and beat the heat — and as climate change makes heat waves like this week’s more common and more severe, the need for pools has never been greater,” Mr. Adams said in a statement on Tuesday.

Like cities across the country, New York also faces an ongoing lifeguard shortage. Last year, pools opened when the city had around half the 1,000 lifeguards it usually has on hand, prompting parks officials to close sections of some pools. Now, the city says it is in better shape after it agreed to raise lifeguard wages for the second time in two years, this time to $22 per hour. The city will also offer a $1,000 retention bonus to lifeguards who worked last year and who agree to remain on duty through this year’s peak season.

Indoor swimming pools are open year-round, though there are far fewer of them in the city and most New Yorkers must pay an annual membership fee to use them. Adults 65 and older qualify for a discounted rate, and people 24 and younger can swim for free.

With pools closed this week, families sought out fountains and shade in parks. Gov. Kathy Hochul said admission and parking at New York State Parks would be free on Wednesday and Thursday.

Though it might feel as if summer is already in full swing, New York’s outdoor pools aren’t opening any later than they have in recent years. They opened on June 29 last year, and June 28 in 2022.

The increased funding announced Tuesday isn’t set to change when pools open, but Councilman Shekar Krishnan proposed legislation this year that would both open the pools earlier in the year and keep them open longer each day.

“On the most sweltering days in New York City, like what we’re experiencing this week, New Yorkers escape to our public pools and beaches to cool off,” Mr. Krishnan, whose district is in Queens, said in a statement. “But pools are useless, and beaches are dangerous, if they are closed and unstaffed.”

Currently, outdoor pools are set to open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, with an hour for cleaning starting at 3 p.m. Mr. Krishnan’s proposal would require that they open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Camille Baker contributed reporting.

Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories (2024)


Scorching Temperatures Put Nearly 100 Million Under Heat Advisories? ›

Nearly 100 million people are under heat advisories in over a dozen states. And nearly 40 million people in the contiguous U.S. are forecast to see temperatures over 100 degrees over the next seven days. A slew of daily temperature records were broken this Fourth of July weekend.

What is the hottest temperature ever recorded? ›

The hottest temperature ever officially recorded on Earth was 134 F in July 1913 in Death Valley, though some experts dispute that measurement and say the real record was 130 F, recorded there in July 2021.

What is the excessive heat warning in the US? ›

An excessive heat warning will be issued when the daytime heat index will be 105 or higher during the day and 75 or higher at night for at least a 48 hour period.

What temperature is too hot to be habitable? ›

Darker colors show more severe combinations of heat and humidity. Some areas have already experienced conditions at or near humans' survivability limit of 35°C (95°F). Map by NOAA, based on data from Radley Horton.

What temperature is considered extreme heat? ›

What is the heat index?
ClassificationHeat Index
Caution80°F - 90°F
Extreme Caution90°F - 103°F
Danger103°F - 124°F
Extreme Danger125°F or higher

What was the hottest year ever on Earth? ›

Details. The year 2023 was the warmest year since global records began in 1850 at 1.18°C (2.12°F) above the 20th-century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This value is 0.15°C (0.27°F) more than the previous record set in 2016. The 10 warmest years in the 174-year record have all occurred during the last decade (2014–2023).

What is the hottest place on Earth ever? ›

Geography and Map Division. The official record for the highest air temperature ever taken is 134.1 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 C), set on July 10, 1913 at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. While there has been some debate as to the reliability of this reading, it currently stands as the official record holder.

What temperature is too hot for us? ›

They found that this upper-temperature limit lies between 40℃ (104F) and 50℃ (122F) when the human body stops functioning optimally. Further studies are needed to understand how this happens and offer insights as heatwaves and unusually warm temperatures continue to impact regions across the globe.

What is causing the extreme heat in the US? ›

Heat waves are most common in summer when high pressure develops across an area. Studies have found that heat waves are directly affected by climate change. One study concluded that heat waves are becoming as much as ten times more likely in some areas because of climate change.

What was the worst heat wave in the US? ›

July 1936, part of the "Dust Bowl", produced one of the hottest summers on record across the country, especially across the Plains, Upper Midwest, and Great Lakes regions. Nationally, about 5,000 people died from the heat.

How long until the Earth is too hot? ›

Earth will probably be able to sustain human life for another 3-4 billion years. The expansion of the sun as it becomes a "red giant" will at that point start rendering the earth uninhabitable, with different types of life forms dying off at different times.

Will the Earth get too hot for humans? ›

If global temperatures increase by 1 degree Celsius (C) or more than current levels, each year billions of people will be exposed to heat and humidity so extreme they will be unable to naturally cool themselves, according to interdisciplinary research.

How hot is too hot for human skin? ›

As a deadly heat wave continues to ravage the U.S., new evidence suggests the human body may stop functioning optimally when outside temperatures climb to 104 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

What temperature can you refuse to work in the US? ›

OSHA does not set specific temperatures at which workers can refuse to work. However, workers have the right to refuse work that they believe poses an imminent danger of death or serious harm, including unsafe heat conditions.

What is the hottest temperature humans can tolerate? ›

Once the air temperature hits 122 degrees, our bodies can no longer dissipate heat and our core temperature rises. But another study cites a much lower limit of 89.6 degrees—the temperature at which humans start sweating.

What temperature is too hot for humans to touch? ›

Lloyd-Smith and Mendelssohn [6] found the pain threshold to be 44.6°C (112.3°F). Defrin et al. [7] investigated heat pain threshold across the body and found the lowest level in the chest (42°C or 107.6°F), the highest in the foot (44.5°C or 112.1°F) and the hand was 43.8°C (110.8°F).

What is the hottest temperature ever possible? ›

So, in theory, the highest possible temperature is calculated to be 142 nonillion kelvins, which means that you have to attach thirty-two zeroes after it and it can only be reached if the particles attain a state called the thermal equilibrium.

What is the hottest thing on Earth ever recorded? ›

A CERN experiment at the Large Hadron Collider created the highest recorded temperature ever when it reached 9.9 trillion degrees Fahrenheit. The experiment was meant to make a primordial goop called a quark–gluon plasma behave like a frictionless fluid.

What is the hottest temperature ever reached by humans? ›

Indeed, few things are any match for the recently announced Guinness World Record for hottest temperature ever achieved by humankind: An unfathomably scorching 7.2 trillion degrees fahrenheit (4 trillion degrees celsius), attained by a particle accelerator on Long Island in New York.

Does anyone live in Death Valley? ›

Death Valley is home to the Timbisha tribe of Native Americans, formerly known as the Panamint Shoshone, who have inhabited the valley for at least the past millennium. Death Valley's Badwater Basin is the point of lowest elevation in North America, at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level.

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