Key events

In Canada, crews are working to survey the damage after a tornado touched down north of Calgary on Saturday, destroying a number of homes and damaging others.

A handful of homes were completely flattened by the twister that tore a path of destruction between the towns of Carstairs and Didsbury, CBC reported.

No one was seriously injured by the storm, but a woman was found trapped in her basement after the tornado destroyed her house. Farm buildings and power infrastructure were also damaged or destroyed.

Elisa Humphreys got in her car with her dog and cat and fled moments before the tornado destroyed her home on Saturday afternoon. When she returned, there was nothing but debris left.

Humphreys told CBC News:

There’s nothing here, there’s nothing here, it’s all gone.

It almost looks like airplanes crashed here, but what it is, is the total destruction of two homes that have just been shredded and spread everywhere.

A person lies on the sidewalk while holding a water bottle, in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP

Canadian wildfire smoke to return to northern US

Less than a week after smoke from Canadian wildfires resulted in hazy skies and dangerous air quality across the US midwest and north-east, more wildfire smoke is expected to return to cover a broader scope across the northern states.

As of Monday, more than 500 active fires were burning across Canada, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).

Of the fires active on Monday, at least 284 were considered to be “out of control”. By Monday morning, the total acreage burned this year was over 20.7m.

Smoke is forecast to shift out of the Canadian Rockies and prairies into the neighboring northern plains and north-west US, leading to poor air quality and low visibility, AccuWeather reported.

The smoke is forecast to reach cities like Seattle; Helena, Montana; and Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Later in the week, there is some smoke risk and the potential for poor air quality to return as a surface high slides into the upper midwest, bringing a northern wind into the region and in the north-east, according to the AccuWeather meteorologist Joseph Bauer. He said:

The general pattern through at least the middle portion of the month is supportive of having more episodes of smoke enter the Midwest and Northeast from Canada.

As a result, more occurrences of poor air quality and hazy skies can occur in these areas more frequently.

A weekend wildfire in southwestern Washington has grown to 533 acres and destroyed an undetermined number of structures, according to officials.

Skamania county firefighters responded to reports of the wildfire on Sunday at about 11am, AP reports.

Hot, windy conditions caused the fire to spread rapidly through the afternoon, prompting authorities to order residents in the area to evacuate.

As of Monday morning, a total of 166 fire personnel were engaged with the fire, which is 0% contained. The fire threatens hundreds of residences, a fish hatchery and vineyards, the Seattle Times reported. The fire’s cause is under investigation.

Intense storm conditions this weekend caused flooding in the Chicago area, shutting down interstates and trapping drivers attempting to navigate flooded areas.

According to US National Weather Service Chicago Illinois – estimates indicate widespread 3-7″ rainfall totals, with some localized rain totals higher than 8 inches. Here are just a few pictures from our OEMC team of the areas that were flooded from the fast-falling rain.

— Chicago OEMC (@ChicagoOEMC) July 3, 2023

A Chicago police officer called for assistance around 9:40 this morning after getting stuck in some deep standing water near Flournoy and Cicero on the west side. A police source says the officer is fine but a good reminder to be careful driving in this heavy rain! @cbschicago

— Jackie Kostek (@JackieKostek) July 2, 2023

Here is more on how a heat dome hovering over parts of the south are increasing temperatures in New Orleans, from Sarah Sneath for the Guardian:

After service ended at the New Philippians Missionary Baptist church in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans on Sunday, the church kept its doors open for people from the neighborhood who needed a break from the heat.

A heat dome of high pressure has been hovering over Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma creating dangerously hot weather for nearly two weeks. On Sunday, heat index values threatened to hit 110F in New Orleans, according to the National Weather Service.

The sermon in church that morning was about letting go. “Psalm 37 starts out with ‘Fret not thyself because of evildoers,’” said Pastor Anthony Jeanmarie III. “It’s just encouraging us as believers that things in life happen to us sometimes that are of ill intent, but our job is not to focus on the person or the problem.”

But Mother Nature herself did not want to let go or let up, with a heat advisory expected to last through Tuesday. Heat index readings reached as high as 120F last week and evening temperatures in the 80s offered little reprieve. “This heat is disrespectful,” said church secretary Thelma Curtis.

The city of New Orleans announced that cooling centers, including the New Philippians Missionary Baptist church, will be open for residents to escape the heat throughout the weekend. Louisiana’s high humidity makes it even harder for the body to cool down during high temperatures, said Alicia Van Doren, who helped write a recent report for the Louisiana department of health about heat-related illnesses in the state.

Read the full article here.

Tens of thousands of people are still without power on Monday afternoon after a storm ripped through the St Louis region on Saturday, killing two people.

A 33-year-old woman died in her parked car in St Louis when a tree fell on the vehicle, AP News reported.

A five-year-old boy was killed in his bedroom when a tree fell on his house in Jennings, Missouri, in St Louis County.

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Mike Schneller from the St. Louis metro sent FOX 2 this video of intense storm conditions Saturday from his home. Some are reporting power outages, uprooted trees and other damages in Missouri and Illinois.

— FOX2now (@FOX2now) July 1, 2023

Oliver Milman

The heating of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans by the burning of fossil fuels made the current extreme heatwave across the us at least five times more likely, according to a recent analysis by Climate Central, a climate science non-profit.

The rolling heatwave marks the latest in a series of recent extreme “heat dome” events that have scorched various parts of the world.

This heat dome was formed by a high-pressure atmospheric system that created a sinking column of warming air that trapped latent heat already absorbed by the landscape, like a sort of lid. Such events typically occur without rain and are cloudless, allowing the sun to bake the surface unhindered, causing temperatures to spike.

“The heat evaporates water and then just heats up the land,” said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University.

If you have this sort of high-pressure system sitting stationary over a region, you can have these really impressive heatwaves.

Heat domes have long existed in Texas, and elsewhere, and there is some conjecture among scientists as to whether or not the climate crisis is causing more “blocking events” where patches of high pressure are held in place by alterations to a jet stream that normally pushes weather systems from west to east.

“But when these heat domes do happen, they are getting worse, that’s for certain,” said Michael Wehner, a climate and extreme weather expert at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who estimated that the Texas heatwave was made around 2.7C (5F) hotter by human-caused global heating.

A swath of severe wind gusts and isolated very large hail are probable across a portion of northeast Wyoming into western South Dakota, according to the National Storm Prediction Center.

Scattered damaging winds from strong to isolated severe gusts are likely across parts of the lower mid-Atlantic states through early evening, it says.

As of Monday afternoon, nearly 200,000 homes and businesses are without power, including nearly 50,000 in Missouri, according to

More than 30 cows were killed on Saturday in a northern Alabama town when lightning struck the tree they were hiding under, according to officials.

WVTM reported that the beef cattle were sheltering from a severe storm on Daymin Gardner’s farm in Berlin, when lightning struck the tree.

The father’s brother told WVTM that the meat on the cows was not salvageable and they would be given a proper burial.

Saturday’s storms brought torrential rain, hail and lightning to central Alabama. The National Weather Service (NWS) said seeking shelter under a tree is one of the leading causes of lightning-related fatalities.

More than 80m under severe storm threat ahead of Fourth of July holiday

More than 80m people are under severe storm threat ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, CNN reported.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected through much of the eastern US, with chances of flash flooding in some areas from the lower Great Lakes to southern New England, the National Weather Service said in an update Monday.

A slight risk for severe storms, level two of five, stretches from northern South Carolina to southern New Jersey, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte, Washington DC and Virginia Beach.

Cities including Jackson, Birmingham, Atlanta, Charleston, Roanoke, Newark and New York are all under a marginal risk for severe storms.

A separate storm system is bringing another slight risk of severe weather across parts of the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana and Minnesota.

NBC news cited the National Weather Service as saying:

The chance of showers and thunderstorms will generally decrease through the eastern US on Independence Day as the low pressure system is forecast to weaken further.

Weekend thunderstorms in Chicago flooded streets and highways on Sunday, forcing Nascar officials to call off the remainder of the Xfinity Series race in the city’s downtown area.

The National Weather Service recorded 3.35in of rain on Sunday, shattering the city’s previous record for that day of 2.06in set in 1982.

Some parts of the Chicago area received up to 9in during the storm on Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. To put it into perspective, the average amount of rain in July for the city is 3.7in, the paper said.

The Nascar Cup Series main event began late in the day on Sunday due to local flash flood warnings, and after the National Weather Service sent another emergency alert regarding the “life-threatening” flash flood warning.

As of Monday, 36m people are under excessive heat warnings in the US, particularly in the south and western areas, ABC News reported.

Phoenix, Arizona’s capital city, is expected to hit a high temperature of 116F on Monday, the Associated Press reported, as temperatures remained above 100F throughout the weekend and, dangerously, are not coming down much at night, giving little relief and straining power systems as residents try to stay cool.

America’s fifth largest city, with 1.6 million people, is accustomed to a hot desert climate, but temperatures are rising due to global heating and urban development which has created a sprawling asphalt and concrete heat island that traps heat especially at night.

Read the Guardian’s report on how Phoenix residents suffered intolerable night-time temperatures during its first extreme heatwave of the season in June 2022.

Heatwaves distort streetcars, pedestrians and cars on Canal Street in New Orleans on 28 June. Photograph: Sophia Germer/AP

Sara Sneath

A heat dome of high pressure has been hovering over Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma creating dangerously hot weather for nearly two weeks.

A heat advisory is expected to last through Tuesday, with heat index readings reaching as high as 120F last week and evening temperatures in the 80s offering little reprieve.

The city of New Orleans announced that cooling centers will be open for residents to escape the heat throughout the weekend. Louisiana’s high humidity makes it even harder for the body to cool down during high temperatures, said Alicia Van Doren, who helped write a recent report for the Louisiana department of health about heat-related illnesses in the state.

High humidity levels in the air prevent sweat from evaporating, impeding the body’s mechanism to stay cool. Van Doren said:

So when that internal heat production exceeds the heat loss, the body reaches a point that it can no longer sustain its natural thermal regulation. That’s when core temps start to rise and heat stroke occurs.

Since 1 April, more than 1,200 people have gone to emergency departments in the state for heat-related illnesses, according to Louisiana department of health, or LDH, data.

A report published by the LDH last month found that workers – especially those in agriculture, construction, landscaping, transportation and utilities – are among the most at-risk populations for heat-related illnesses because they have less control over the amount of time they spend under the sun. About 320 workers are taken to the hospital for heat-related illnesses in the state every year, according to the report. Black workers were hospitalized for heat-related illness at double the rate of white workers.

Millions of Americans on alert for dangerously high temperatures amid climate crisis warnings

Good morning. Welcome back to our coverage of the extreme weather impacting tens of millions across the US.

Excessive heat warnings remain in place in many areas across the country and are expected to last through the week. A heat dome of high pressure has been hovering over Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma creating dangerously hot weather for nearly two weeks. On Sunday, heat index values threatened to hit 110F in New Orleans, according to the National Weather Service.

In Phoenix, Arizona, temperatures are expected to rise above 110F all week, after reaching 115F on Sunday – eight degrees above normal for this time of the year and approaching the record of 118F set in 2011. The onset of night will offer little relief from the sweltering heat, with night-time temperatures not expected to fall below the 80F necessary for the body to recover from the cumulative impact of heat.

The current heatwave was made five times more likely by climate change, according to an analysis by Climate Central.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of residents in central Illinois remain without power after severe storms knocked down trees and power lines across the region. Heavy rains flooded Chicago on Sunday, trapping cars and flooding basements across the city. The National Weather Service warned the flooding could be “life-threatening”.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates from across the region.

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