Several cities in the Northeast saw record-high daily temperatures on Sunday as a nationwide scorching peaked in many places around the United States.
As of 3 p.m., the temperature in Newark had hit 101 degrees, exceeding the previous daily record for July 24 of 99 degrees, set in 2010, according to the National Weather Service. It was the fifth consecutive day of temperatures at or above 100 degrees in the city.
In Boston, it was 100 degrees, surpassing the previous record of 98 degrees, set in 1933. New York City, which confirmed a heat-related death on Saturday, did not exceed its previous July 24 record of 97 degrees as of Sunday afternoon.
Other cities that exceeded their daily records included Providence, R.I., which had a high of 97 degrees, beating its previous high for the day of 94 degrees, set in 1987; and Reading, Pa., which registered a temperature of 97 degrees, according to the Weather Service.
Officials across the country braced for the high temperatures as a heat wave extended for several days. Athletes who had trained for months would not get to compete in the Boston Triathlon, which was postponed for the heat, or would compete for a shorter time in the New York City Triathlon. Cooling centers were open in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. Americans tried to beat the heat safely on beaches, in libraries and indoors, as heat-related deaths were reported or suspected in New York, Arizona, Texas, South Dakota and Missouri.
About 71 million people across the country were in areas with dangerous levels of heat on Sunday, meaning they registered a heat index of at least 103 degrees. The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels outside, taking into account humidity and temperature. Large sections of the Midwest, including Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, faced such levels of heat, along with areas from Southern California to the coast of North Carolina.
Temperatures on Monday are expected to be nearly as high as they were on Sunday, but the heat should moderate in the Northeast and other parts of the country, Richard Bann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said.
“It’s Tuesday by the time we get a push of cooler air into the Northeast and parts of the Mid-Atlantic,” he said.
Late on Saturday, New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirmed a heat-related death with contributing factors listed as hypertensive cardiovascular disease and emphysema. No other information about the death — including location, time or name of the victim — was immediately released.
In Texas, Dallas County reported its first heat-related death of 2022 on Thursday of a 66-year-old woman.
Health officials in Kansas City are investigating six deaths as potentially related to high temperatures, local news reported.
And in Arizona’s south-central Maricopa County, where daily temperatures have surpassed 100 degrees for the past two weeks, at least 25 deaths recorded between July 17 and Saturday were under investigation as being related to the heat. The county has confirmed 29 other heat-related deaths this year.
A 22-year-old man, Maxwell Right, died hiking in Badlands National Park in South Dakota, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said. The authorities said they suspected he died of dehydration and exposure.
Across the nation, there were fears that the extreme heat would overwhelm power grids.
To protect the power grid, New York City officials asked residents to use less energy. Some suggestions included turning up the air-conditioner to 78 degrees and unplugging appliances like televisions and computers.
“You can hit the beach or head to the pool to keep cool, too!” the city said on Twitter.
Philip O’Brien, a spokesman for Con Edison, New York City’s power utility, said that peak megawatt usage on Saturday in New York City and the nearby suburban county of Westchester was about 10,300, less than this month’s high of 11,500 megawatts, set on Wednesday. That peak itself was lower than in recent years, with the record being about 13,300 megawatts, set in July 2013. That decline in usage over time is partly the product of more energy-efficient appliances, he said.
Philadelphia declared a heat emergency on Thursday that remains in effect. The action activates several city services designed to keep people safe, including making libraries available as cooling stations and placing air-conditioned buses throughout the city.
The Boston Triathlon, which was scheduled for Sunday, was postponed until Aug. 21 “due to the current historic weather conditions that are impacting Boston,” organizers said in a statement. (Organizers of the New York City Triathlon, also scheduled for Sunday, shortened the bike and run portions of the race.)
On Thursday, Boston extended a heat emergency, which was announced on Monday, through Sunday.
Hundreds of people die from extreme heat in the United States every year. To stay safe, the National Weather Service recommends that people drink fluids, stay in cooler rooms, keep out of the sun and check on vulnerable relatives and neighbors.
While tying a single heat wave to climate change requires deeper analysis, heat waves around the world are growing more frequent and dangerous and lasting longer.
The 2018 National Climate Assessment, a major scientific report by 13 federal agencies, noted that the number of hot days was increasing, and the frequency of heat waves in the United States jumped from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year by the 2010s.
Christine Chung and April Rubin contributed reporting.