The U.S. Weather by the Numbers

As a heat wave scorches much of the Northern Hemisphere, large portions of the United States are experiencing record temperatures — and the growing danger and discomfort that come with them.

Phoenix, one of America’s hottest cities, has never been this hot for this long. And even places not known for heat, such as Northern California and Alaska, are recording unusually high temperatures this summer.

Here’s what the numbers tell us about the heat and how it is affecting Americans:

  • About 90.5 million people — or 27 percent of the U.S. population — live in areas expected to experience dangerous levels of heat on Thursday, according to a New York Times analysis of forecast and population data from the U.S. government.

  • Thursday was the 21st straight day of temperatures climbing to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or above in Phoenix. Until this year, the longest streak of 110-plus days was 18, a record set in 1974. Phoenix reached 119 degrees on Thursday — the fourth consecutive day with highs at 115 or above.

  • The nights in Phoenix are no better: Low temperatures have not dropped below the 90s for 11 consecutive days — also a record. The low on Thursday morning was 93 degrees.

  • El Paso has now reached triple-digit temperatures for 35 straight days. Wednesday’s high was 111, making it the city’s hottest day so far this year.

  • Heat is routine in Las Vegas, although forecasters warn that even there, temperatures are spiking to dangerous levels this week, with the concrete sidewalks baking to 144 degrees in the sun and even 126.5 degrees in the shade. The city is under an excessive heat warning through Saturday, with temperatures expected to reach 113 degrees this week.

  • In Death Valley National Park, where temperatures over the weekend approached a world record, a 71-year-old man died while hiking on Tuesday. Although a coroner had not yet determined an official cause of death, park officials said temperatures had climbed to 121 degrees that afternoon. It’s potentially the second heat-related death in the park this month; a 65-year-old man died of apparent heat illness on July 3.

  • The heat is spreading well beyond the Southwest. Record or near-record temperatures are forecast in parts of southeast Oregon and southwest Idaho over the next five to six days. Boise, Idaho, is expected to reach 107 degrees on Saturday.

  • High temperatures in interior parts of Northern California were forecast to be about 10 degrees above average on Thursday.

  • And parts of Georgia, including Macon, were also under a heat advisory on Thursday. Temperatures were forecast to reach the mid- to upper 90s. The heat index — which accounts for temperature and humidity — was expected to climb over 105 degrees.

  • Canadian wildfire smoke continues to reach new parts of the country. Houston had an air quality index of 108 on Thursday morning. A reading above 100 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, and one above 200 is considered unhealthy for everyone.

  • A weak cold front is headed toward San Angelo, Texas, this weekend, where the odds that the temperature on Saturday stays below 100 degrees are 24 percent. In El Paso, the odds are 9 percent.

  • Austin, Texas, reached 105 degrees on Wednesday. The city has now experienced 10 straight days of temperatures of 105 or higher for the first time in its recorded history.

Camille Baker and John Keefe contributed reporting.

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