Feeling hot? It's not a mirage. Across the United States, hundreds of heat records have fallen in the past week.

From the wildfire-consumed Rocky Mountains to the bacon-fried sidewalks of Oklahoma, the consequences of the temperatures range from catastrophic to comical. In the past week, 1,011 records have been broken around the country, including 251 new daily high temperature records on Tuesday.

The numbers might seem big, but they're hard to put into context; the National Climatic Data Center has been tracking the daily records broken only for a little more than a year, said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring. Still, records usually aren't broken until the scorching months of July and August. If forecasts hold, more records could fall in the coming days in the central and western parts of the country.

The heat wave "is bad now by our current definition of bad," said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, but "our definition of bad changes. What we see now will be far more common in the years ahead."

No matter where you are, the objective is the same: stay cool. -- AP

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