As natives of California’s Central Valley, Luigi Tiso and his wife, Brittnee, are accustomed to triple-digit temperatures in the summer.
But for the co-owners of Luigi’s Italian Sandwiches and Calzones, a food truck in Fresno, this summer’s extreme heat wave has been particularly unbearable — not to mention bad for business.
“We have to cancel on days that are in the triple digits because it’s not safe for myself or [my] wife working,” Tiso told Yahoo News, noting that when it’s 110 degrees outside, the temperature inside their truck can get up to more than 120°F. “A lot of times, customers don’t want to come out and stand in the heat.”
Tiso and his wife are among the many Americans whose summer plans have been negatively impacted by the dangerous and unrelenting heat wave currently suffocating large swaths of the country.
Since June 10, more than 2,300 heat records have been shattered nationwide. This week alone, more than 121 million people across a dozen states from California to Florida were under heat advisories, according to Heat.gov, a website launched by the Biden administration in response to the recent deadly temperatures — which are expected to continue well into August.
As a result, outdoor weddings and other events have been forced to move indoors, summer camp field trips have been canceled and vacation plans have been scrapped altogether. From mild inconveniences to potentially life-altering adjustments, Yahoo News looks at some of the ways extreme heat has changed life in the U.S. this summer.
Early closures and canceled events
On Tuesday, Phoenix recorded 19 straight days with temperatures in excess of 110°F, breaking its previous record of 18 days, set in 1974. The following day the city’s temperature hit 119°F, its highest since 2017. The Phoenix Botanical Garden has shuttered early in recent weeks and canceled events because of extreme weather.
“Our staff is actively monitoring temperatures for the safety and well-being of our staff and members,” a spokesperson for the garden told Yahoo News.
In nearby New Mexico, outdoor activities are being scrapped out of an abundance of caution.
Izzy Barr, executive director of the Railyard Park Conservancy (RPC) in Santa Fe, canceled one of the park’s most popular programs, Graze Days, to avoid the risk of dehydration or heatstroke. The event, which typically draws well over 100 visitors to the 11-acre park, is an opportunity for sheep and goats to restore the park’s native grasslands by grazing while the community receives education on the many benefits of urban landscapes.
“Although attendance at the park seems to be pretty consistent with prior years, the RPC had to cancel a Graze Days prescribed grazing session out of consideration for the safety of staff, volunteers, community members and the animals,” Barr told Yahoo News in an email. She added that she fears that brutally high temperatures may threaten future activities there.
In Texas, the extreme heat led the Austin Symphony, the city’s oldest performing arts group, to cancel a number of outdoor concerts this summer. And in Monroe, La., drag races at Twin City Raceway were canceled days in advance because of the anticipated sweltering weather.
At Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, where temperatures this week reached 111°F, passengers and crew members aboard a delayed Delta flight became ill after sitting on the tarmac for more than three hours without air conditioning on Monday.
"The sanitary crew came on board because some people had thrown up," said Krista Garvin, a Fox News field producer who was on the plane, which ultimately never took off. "One woman that walked up the aisle was visibly ill. She couldn’t even open her eyes. She was swaying back and forth."
What’s causing the extreme heat?
Scientists believe that rising global temperatures are a direct consequence of climate change, caused by a steady increase in greenhouse gas emissions and the weather pattern known as El Niño — a band of warm air from the tropical Pacific Ocean that recurs every two to seven years.
Americans fear the worst is yet to come
A growing number of Americans fear that the negative effects of climate change will only worsen in the future. According to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll published this week, more than a third (34%) of Americans now believe they have already been personally affected in a negative way by climate change, up 7 points from October 2021. And nearly half of Americans, or 47% — a 5-point increase — now say their own lives will get worse in years to come because of the warming planet.
“Global warming is leading us into an unfamiliar world,” Robert Rohde, lead scientist at the environmental research organization Berkeley Earth, tweeted earlier this month.