According to the New York Times, no fewer than 200 temperature records were broken along the East Coast and in the Midwest on Friday, and several more all-time highs were reported yesterday. For some cities, it's been well over a week of 100-plus temperatures, claiming at least 36 lives — including, sadly, that of a four-month-old baby left in a car — and setting off a wide array of lesser heat-induced problems.
105 is the new 100.
Yesterday, St. Louis notched 106 on the thermometer, while both Washington "hotter than the gates of Hades" D.C. and Louisville saw the mercury rise to a heat-stroke-inducing 105, making it the tenth straight day of 100-plus temperatures for Kentucky's largest city. Indianapolis and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, suffered with 104 degrees, while Baltimore and Philadelphia hovered above 100.
It is, in fact, hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.
At least according to Alexandria, Virginia, school board candidate Scott Gordon, who sent the Washington Post this photo as proof.
And hot enough to melt the Reagan National Airport tarmac …
A plane was stuck for three hours in "a soft spot caused by the heat," a U.S. Airways spokesman explained to the Post. (See photo.) Elsewhere, a D.C. resident tweeted that "the tar on the street has officially started melting," appending a photo of her victimized shoe.
… buckle several highways…
In Illinois and Wisconsin.
… derail a train...
In Maryland, after the heat created a "kink" in a rail link.
… and cause Dali-esque hallucinations.
Or at least predictions.
With this heat, convinced DC will look like a Salvador Dali painting by the end of the day.— Adam Sharp (@AdamS) July 7, 2012
But it's still not hot enough to scare away the tourists.
Including a bachelorette party strolling down the sweltering National Mall, or these New York City sightseers.
Which meant lots of business for entrepreneurs.
Water, get your water!
Reminder: drink plenty of liquids, and avoid overexposure.
Or you'll end up like the dozen or so people who had to be treated for heat exhaustion at President Obama's rally in Pittsburgh yesterday.
Because it is possible that the heat wave is Obama's fault.
Romney "appalled" as heat wave continues under Obama's "inept leadership," cites 59 point plan to reduce temperature.— John Perry Barlow (@JPBarlow) July 7, 2012
Or is it climate change's fault?
350.org, a grassroots environmental group, had initially planned to install a giant ice sculpture of the word "HOAX" outside Congress to shame climate change denialists, but backed off from the idea.
Weirdly, the Earth is actually the farthest it'll be from the sun all year.
By an extra 1.5 million miles, to be exact.
For those too young to care about the melting of the glaciers or presidential politics — lucky you! — just go ahead and ignore all the whiny old people and hit up the nearest water park.
Or oversize water fountain.
Or portable air conditioner.
While thinking about this poor overheated Omaha bear.*
The good news is that it looks like the heat wave is about to break. Temperatures are supposed to hover in the balmy nineties today, descending into the practically fresco eighties later this week.
* This post has been updated to show that Neb. is not the sun bear's name, but (naturally) the abbreviation for Nebraska.