Tourists heading to the US on holiday are being warned about a brutal heatwave that is sweeping across the country and has already claimed the lives of 22 people.
The country’s National Weather Service has warned of ‘dangerous’ levels of heat and humidity with temperatures in the eastern states rising as high as 43C (111F) in places.
A total of 55 cities recorded their highest ever temperatures yesterday with the scorching heat expected to peak today.
A ‘heat-dome’ of high pressure is being blamed for the sweltering weather with almost half of the population now under a heat advisory.
A resident in New York described the blistering heat as being like ‘sitting in a sauna all day long’ and in Chicago smog levels – already a problem for the city – have reached ‘unhealthy’ proportions. Some 7,000 residents in the Windy City have been left without power.
AccuWeather.com forecaster Mary Yoon told MSNBC.com: ‘Through the rest of this week and into the weekend at least 15 states starting from the Southern Plains and Midwest and much of the Northeast will witness 90 degree plus temperatures with high humidity.’
Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas have all seen deaths while the normally cool state of Minnesota has suffered with livestock losses.
In Tennessee, cases of heat stoke and heat exhaustion have seen people hospitalised while Texas, a destination more than used to hot weather, is recording its driest spell in recent decades.
Travellers heading to Seattle will find the weather much more clement with temperatures hovering at around the 60 degree mark. The country’s north west has managed to so far evade the heatwave with some residents describing July temperatures as ‘freezing’.
North America’s worst ever heatwave happened during the Great Depression of 1936 when summer heat claimed 5,000 lives across the US and Canada.