Extreme heat and wildfires are plaguing the U.S. and Europe, along with northern Africa. Thursday marks the peak of the latest heat wave in the Mid-Atlantic states, with Washington, D.C. likely to reach or eclipse 100°F Thursday, with a heat index closer to 105 or 110°F.
Why it matters: Heat waves and wildfires are two clear manifestations of the growing risks and impacts of global warming, a conclusion reinforced by the authoritative U.N. IPCC's report published Monday.
Fresh evacuation orders were issued in California and Montana on Wednesday, as firefighters in U.S. Western states battled 105 large fires — and authorities warned more wildfires could ignite as a dangerous heat wave looms.
Driving the news: The National Interagency Fire Center said Wednesday fire managers could see an "[i]nitial attack and large fire activity could increase in the Northern California, Northwest, portions of the Great Basin and Northern Rockies areas due to hot, dry and windy conditions and the potential for lightning."
A weather station in Sicily may have set an all-time high temperature record for all of Europe on Wednesday, when the temperature climbed to a scorching 48.8°C (119.8°F) amid a regional heat wave that has shown few signs of relenting.
The big picture: The intense heat wave continues to roast the Mediterranean and northern Africa. The hot and dry weather has played a large role in creating the conditions conducive for explosive and devastating wildfires in Turkey and Greece.
Nearly 200 million Americans are under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings as dual "heat domes" affect the Pacific Northwest, Central states and East Coast.
Why it matters: Extreme heat can kill, and it can also greatly aggravate wildfire conditions, making it even harder for thousands of firefighters to contain California's Dixie Fire, the state's second-largest on record.
Tropical Storm Fred formed south of Puerto Rico late Tuesday — and Florida is in its path, according to the five-day forecast.
State of play: Fred is the sixth named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season. The storm system could intensify over the eastern Gulf this weekend, possibly to a hurricane, though the National Hurricane Center said it's too early to tell for sure.
The "most important" step Americans should take to prepare for peak hurricane season is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in case they have to evacuate, the White House said Tuesday.
Why it matters: The statement followed President Biden's meeting on hurricane preparedness with senior FEMA officials and others, who advised him of the measure — hours before Tropical Storm Fred formed near Puerto Rico. Florida is in the path of the storm, which could possibly intensify into a hurricane.
Heat warnings and advisories are in effect for at least two dozen states through the end of the week. 25 million people are projected to see highs reach or eclipse 100 degrees Fahrenheit this week, as yet another powerful heat dome-dominated weather pattern affects a huge swath of the country.
Why it matters: The heat wave will combine with drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest to aggravate an already dire wildfire situation and bring more miserable weather to residents of Portland, Oregon, and other states hit hard by record-shattering heat in late June and early July.
The latest: The Dixie Fire, the second largest in California's history, was threatening Indian Valley homes near the fire-ravaged town of Greenville on Monday night. Images taken from the scene showed the blaze that's razed more than 482,000 acres creating its own weather overnight.
Just as some cities were about to see relief from the degraded air quality caused by wildfire smoke, another plume is expected to trickle in from the West, highlighting what authorities say is a reality for the remainder of a long and intense wildfire season.
Why it matters: Several studies in recent months are sounding alarms about how harmful microscopic particles from smoke can wreak havoc on the public's health despite being hundreds of miles from the fire sites.
Forecasters are warning Americans to brace for another extreme heat wave this week, as 107 large wildfires burn across nearly 2.3 million acres of the U.S. West.
Driving the news: "Widespread air quality alerts and scattered Red Flag Warnings stretch from the Northwest and Northern Rockies to the High Plains, as well as throughout parts of central California," the National Weather Service said Sunday.