A man cools off in a fountain on a hot day in New York in July 2021. JEENAH MOON (REUTERS)
The east coast of the United States registers a heat wave this weekend, with temperatures typical of mid-summer.
A participant in the half marathon in Brooklyn (New York) has died this Saturday, according to several local media, due to the effect of heat and high humidity.
The wave, which will last only the weekend, has put the authorities of the most affected states on alert, some of which, such as New Jersey and Virginia, expect the thermometer to exceed records set in 1934 and 1962, respectively.
To the scorching heat and humidity, air pollution is added as a third worrying factor.
The authorities advise residents of cities such as New York, Long Island, Baltimore and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to be alert to worsening air quality if they suffer from respiratory disease.
Of particular concern is the level of ozone on the surface.
A 30-year-old man has died this Saturday morning after completing the Brooklyn half marathon.
The victim collapsed at the finish line in Coney Island, and despite being quickly evacuated to hospital, he was unable to survive the collapse.
The health authorities are evaluating whether the strong prevailing heat had anything to do with his death, since those responsible for the test had warned the participants of the adverse weather conditions.
Five other participants were also evacuated to the hospital, three of them in serious condition, the New York Fire Department has reported, although the alleged incidence of heat has not been determined either.
The 20-kilometer race started at seven in the morning, when the city registered a temperature of just over 15 degrees Celsius, but when the death of the man and the hospitalization of the five participants were reported, the thermometer exceeded The 25. The AccuWeather weather forecasting site predicted a maximum temperature of 33 degrees in the city in the central hours of the day.
While the half marathon registered its first fatality since 2014 -in similar circumstances: a contemporary participant and the victim of a collapse at the finish line-, in Tennessee a one-year-old baby was found unconscious inside a car parked in front of a kindergarten.
Emergency crews were unable to revive him.
With more than a week to go until Memorial Day, which marks the unofficial start of summer on the last Monday in May, the heat wave this weekend is affecting about a third of the nation's population in the northeastern states and the mid-Atlantic.
The authorities have warned of the impact of temperatures typical of the summer solstice and have taken measures, for example by postponing graduation ceremonies that were to be held in large esplanades;
activating emergency plans, as in Boston and Washington, or opening water parks and cold centers in cities earlier than planned.
In Colorado, on the other hand, a late spring snowfall has covered much of the state in a blanket of white after temperatures plummeted the day before.
The cold and snow have prevented the celebration of sporting events, while in Michigan a tornado caused two deaths and several injuries.
Authorities are still searching for survivors in the rubble at the caravan site that was the epicenter.
By the end of this weekend, about half of the 330 million Americans will have experienced temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit due to a gust of hot air that started in the Southwest, swept across the eastern third of the country, and is expected to spread through the Sunday to New England and even to Canada.
The premature heat wave is responsible for the largest wildfire on record in New Mexico, active months before peak fire season begins.
Other fires have forced the evacuation of the population of Colorado, Arizona and Utah.
San Antonio, Texas, reached 38 degrees four times so far in May, more than in all of 2021.