Heat wave continues to break records across the West

(NBC) – An unrelenting week of extreme heat out West with more than an eighth of the US population suffering through a record-breaking heatwave, and it isn’t letting up. That’s straining power systems and threatening an already drought-ridden region and summer doesn’t officially start until Sunday.

Thursday, a dangerous heatwave is baking states from coast to coast, shattering dozens of heat records for Wednesday’s date before summer has even started.

Tens of millions of Americans are now under excessive heat warnings and watches.

California is caught in a vicious cycle of heat, drought, and wildfires.

In San Francisco’s Bay Area, a brush fire forced residents to evacuate their homes with blinding smoke filling the air.

In Dallas, a spike in temperatures is keeping fire crews busy with heat-related calls jumping over the last week.

Dallas Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Scott Clumpner said, “Anyone who is in the city working outdoors not in a climate-controlled environment is absolutely at risk for heatstroke or heat exhaustion if they’re not paying attention to the symptoms their body’s giving them.”

People are not the only ones in danger. Pets without adequate shelter are facing the same sun-driven threat.

And the heat’s not just scorching the West. Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, even Portland, Maine, are having the hottest first half of June on record.

Climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe said, “As climate changes as the world warms, we’re seeing that our summer extreme heatwaves are getting more frequent, stronger, more intense, and more deadly.”

In Texas, power grid operators are still urging residents to limit power usage to avoid a repeat of February’s winter storm failure that took more than 100 lives and knocked out electricity for days.

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