Deadly heat hits parts of the globe, with experts warning more is to come

Why are so many parts of the world experiencing extremely high temperatures? ITV News' David Harper explains with words by producer Georgia Scott

Deadly heatwaves have hit parts of the globe, with climate scientists warning it is an indication of more extreme weather to come.

A weather phenomenon known as a heat dome is causing temperatures in the US to soar dangerously high, leaving tens of millions of people enduring heat that hasn't been seen in decades.

Extreme heat has also hit parts of Mexico, where more than 100 people have died, while a tropical storm in the Gulf has claimed more lives and caused more destruction.

In India, the unrelenting heat has also seen recent temperatures regularly surpass 40C.

‘Heat dome’ brings dangerously high temperatures to the US

Around 270 million people in the US are experiencing temperatures of around 32.2C this week due to a weather phenomenon known as a heat dome.

Heat domes trap air and sunshine in place, usually meaning each day becomes hotter than the last.

The conditions mean overnight temperatures often do not cool down enough to offer relief from the heat, posing increased risks for heat-related illness.

A pedestrian crosses a street as heat waves rise from the pavement as the temperature hits 40C on June 17 in Phoenix. Credit: AP

Parts of the Midwest and Northeast of the country are expected to be the worst hit, but as Meteorologist Geoff Fox explained to ITV News, the extreme conditions will extend far beyond these parts.

"It's slow moving, so with the sun at its highest point in the sky right now the dome of high pressure heats up really well.

"There are places looking for record temperatures, not record for the day or for the month, but record forever", he said.

Mr Fox did predict the weather would settle over the coming days, but warned the extreme heat was a sinister reminder of the changing climate.

"The jet stream is moving all over the place and I believe by early next week we will be back to more normal conditions but if you are worried about global warming this is a shot across the bow", he said.

Children run through water provided by the Department of Public Safety in Benton Harbour, Michegan. Credit: AP

Heat is expected to reach dangerously high levels in many places including Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Boston.

Some areas, including parts of Vermont, New York and Pittsburgh, haven’t seen heat like this in about three decades, according to local meteorologists.

Some affected areas have begun activating heat protocol, including introducing cooling centres for people to use.

Thousands of people have fled the village of Ruidoso as wildfires “like the apocalypse” ripped through their homes. Credit: AP

Flooding hits parts of New Mexico after 'apocalyptic' wildfires

Heavy rain and hail has now fallen on an evacuated village in New Mexico where a wildfire resulted in the deaths of two people.

The rain has offered hope to firefighters dealing with the fire, which tore through the village of Ruidoso, but has now brought a different threat in the form of high winds and flash floods.

Ruidoso and much of the southwest of New Mexico has been exceedingly dry and hot this spring.

A helicopter collects water from Mescalero lake near the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort in Ruidoso. Credit: AP

Air tankers dropped water on the fires growing in the mountainous village, where residents described scenes "like the apocalypse" as they fled.

Vehicles lined up after flash flooding hit parts of New Mexico Credit: AP/ Mike Bischoff

Nationwide, wildfires have scorched more than 3,280 square miles this year, higher than the 10-year averages, according to the National Interagency Fire Centre.

About 20 wildfires currently burning are considered "large and uncontained", including blazes in both California and Washington state.

Margarita Salazar, 82, is forced to cope with the extreme heat in her home in Veracruz, Mexico. Credit: AP

Mexico also hit by extreme heat, claiming more than 100 lives

The intense heat has caused the deaths of at least 125 people in Mexico so far this year, with thousands more suffering from heatstroke and dehydration.

Residents in the city of Veracruz have made up nearly a third of the deaths as temperatures have reached 37.7C in the humid Mexican gulf state.

Women sit by the window of the Cogra nursing home to cool off from high temperatures in Veracruz. Credit: AP

Saudi Arabia: Hundreds of hajj pilgrims die amid soaring temperatures in Mecca

More than 550 pilgrims are suspected to have died after completing the hajj in the searing heat of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Temperatures have sat in excess of 40C in several areas of the country as more than a million Muslims descend on the holiest site in Islam, with 51C recorded on Monday.

Muslim pilgrims cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, the last rite of the annual hajj. Credit: AP/ Rafiq Maqbool

Many pilgrims, particularly older people, collapsed and required medical assistance because of the heat. Dozens were also reported to have died from sunstroke.

The fatalities among pilgrims this year included at least 41 Jordanians and 35 Tunisians, according to officials from both countries.

Local media in Egypt also reported dozens of fatalities among Egyptian pilgrims.

A pilgrim approaching the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia amid the deadly summer heat. Credit: AP/ Rafiq Maqbool

India battles with more intense heat

A heatwave across swathes of India has killed more than 100 people, according to data from India's Health Ministry.

Between March 1 and June 18, the highest number of deaths were reported in Uttar Pradesh state, followed by other northern states including Rajasthan, Bihar and Odisha, which has most severely felt the effects of the extreme weather.

The data recorded showed that of the 40,272 cases of suspected heat stroke during this period, 457 were reported on Tuesday.

The capital, New Delhi, has also been gripped by extreme heat even as brief rains and winds on Thursday morning cooled temperatures after the city suffered its hottest night in over five decades earlier this week.

Indian labourers sleep on the roadside in Lucknow, India on 14 June as the country is hit by extreme heat of temperatures above 45C. Credit: AP/ Rajesh Kumar Singh

The country’s weather department says it expects some respite from the heat over the next few days, but said extreme weather could continue after that.

India declares a heat wave whenever temperatures are above 40C in the plains and 30C or more in its hilly regions.

In recent weeks, parts of the capital reported temperatures up to 51C, triggering record demand for electricity and leading to frequent power cuts in the city, which is also battling a severe water crisis.

Local tourists cover their heads to shield from the heat as they buy drinking water bottles in New Delhi. Credit: AP/ Manish Swarup

The main summer months - April, May and June - are always hot in most parts of India before the monsoon rains bring cooler temperatures.

But the heat has become more intense in the past decade and is usually accompanied by severe water shortages, with tens of millions of India’s 1.4 billion people lacking running water.

An auto rickshaw driver sleeps in his vehicle under the shade of a tree in New Delhi. Credit: AP
People resting under the shade of trees in New Delhi. Credit: Ap/ Manish Swarup

Evacuations in Greece as wildfires tear through homes and businesses

Dozens of wildfires have broken out in Greece in recent days amid scorching summer temperatures.

Greek firefighters and water-bombing aircraft helped put out a large wildfire on the fringes of Athens that forced hundreds to flee from their homes.

Summer wildfires also plagued nearby Turkey, where two villages were evacuated.

Firefighters trying to extinguish the flames as a helicopter drops water in Koropi in Athens. Credit: AP/ Petros Giannakouris

Officials said the wildfire was exacerbated by windy, hot and dry weather and appeared to have been deliberately started.

Greek authorities have warned of a particularly high risk of wildfires this summer following a dry, warm winter that has left vegetation tinder-dry.

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