The US drought and record-breaking heat have combined to wreak havoc on much of the US’ infrastructure.
The heat mixed with no rain not only affects farming, it also causes problems for concrete, steel and pavement all of which are susceptible to cracking and warping under 100-degree temperatures.
In one case the New York Times reported about a subway train that derailed when its tracks warped because of high heat. In another incident a jet became stuck on an airport runway after the asphalt it was on softened and its landing gear sunk.
In the Midwest and US Northeast highways have been damaged because they were not designed to stand up to such high heat levels for extended periods of time. In some cases highways have been known to pop up and ripple where their sections are joined together, causing extremely dangerous driving conditions.
In Texas clay beneath highways has shrunk, causing massive cracks to form on highways..
It is not just roadways and rail being affected by the heat, nuclear power plants are also susceptible to wear and tear during drought conditions with high heat. A nuclear power plant outside of Chicago, IL required special permission to continue regular operations after cooling water inside the plant rose to 102 degrees, 2 degrees above its operational limit.
In another case a power plant was forced to stop operations after its water source used for obtaining new cooling water actually dried up.
At least one power company official has called this season the “storm of the century.”