A sweltering week across the United States is only forecast to worsen.
Heat alerts remained in effect for 68 million people Friday morning across the Great Plains, Gulf Coast, Florida and now parts of the Pacific Northwest.
Over the next seven days, more than 100 record highs could be set across the country, especially for parts of Texas, Florida and Oregon.
Numerous cities are expected to set records for several days in a row, including Houston, New Orleans, Tampa and Jacksonville in Florida, which all set record highs this week.
Cities that have set record stretches of consecutive days with temperatures 100-plus degrees Fahrenheit include Austin, Texas; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dozens of Texas locations have soared above 100 F for more than a month straight.
For Florida, the records are focused on the searing heat index values, which have felt as hot as 120 F, which hit parts of metro Tampa on Tuesday. Naples has recorded a heat index over 100 F for more than 50 straight days, and Miami has seen more than 120 hours above a heat index of 105 F — easily outpacing the 49 consecutive hours of 2020, according to Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science.
For the Pacific Northwest, there is an excessive heat watch that will go into effect starting Sunday and last till Thursday and includes Portland. There is a high probability that temperatures in the region will soar into the 94-105 F range, which will set records for this time of year. Overnight lows are also expected to be record warm.
As the atmosphere continues to warm because of human-induced climate change, heat waves like what the South has endured this summer will only continue to become hotter, more frequent and last longer through time, scientists say.
Add the influence of El Niño, which can trigger heat waves across both land and sea, and this summer will be one to remember for its relentless record-setting heat.