Extreme weather clobbering much of the United States

Aliz Kovacs Taylor, 5, plays with her mom in the Crown Fountain on Michigan Avenue, as temperatures spike in Chicago, Tuesday. A heat dome that settled over the western United States last week — leading to a record-breaking 102 degrees Sunday at the Salt Lake City International Airport — has spread to the East Coast.

Aliz Kovacs Taylor, 5, plays with her mom in the Crown Fountain on Michigan Avenue, as temperatures spike in Chicago, Tuesday. A heat dome that settled over the western United States last week — leading to a record-breaking 102 degrees Sunday at the Salt Lake City International Airport — has spread to the East Coast. (Ashlee Rezin, Chicago Sun-Times via Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A heat dome that settled over the western United States last week — leading to a record-breaking 102 degrees Sunday at the Salt Lake City International Airport — has spread to the East Coast.

There, more than 100 million people are suffering under a heat alert, experiencing the stifling heat that had suffocated the West.

The heat is on:USA Today reports it could reach 100 degrees in Chicago Tuesday. The heat follows severe thunderstorms that knocked out power to residents, with winds reaching 60 mph.

Memphis, Atlanta, St. Louis and even Minneapolis are all flirting with the prospect of hitting triple digits. Texas endured record heat, putting strain on the electrical grid, and leading to public pleas for people to exercise caution.

Accuweather is reporting that the record high heat is coming early in the season.

Wind as a worry: After the record heat, a cold front swept into Utah bringing with it some much needed rain Monday and not-so-welcome wind. The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City recorded a wind gust of 62 mph at Fremont Island on the Great Salt Lake, 80 mph wind at Snowbasin's Straw Top, and blowing dust from 50 mph wind at Fillmore obscuring motorists' visibility.

Indiana and other parts of the Midwest had it worse than Utah, however. On top of all the other weather events, a powerful derecho ripped through that region. A derecho is a strong series of thunderstorms inflicting damage for 240 miles or longer with wind speeds of at least 58 mph.

Wildfires in the United States: The National Interagency Fire Center is reporting an active wildfire season this year so far.

So far in 2022, 29,827 wildfires have burned 2,687,539 acres across the country, well above the 10-year average.

Seven new large fires were reported Monday, three in Alaska and Arizona and one in Utah.

The states with the most human-caused fires include Texas, North Carolina, California, Georgia and Florida.

In a nod to weather extremes, a fuels and fire advisory has been issued for Alaska's southwest and central interior regions. The center said prolonged hot, dry and windy conditions has resulted in very dry fuels and increased potential for extreme fire behavior.

Heat and windy conditions are fueling erratic behavior of the Pipeline Fire near Flagstaff and evacuations have been ordered. None of the fires in that area have been contained.

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Amy Joi O'Donoghue

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