Mr. Gates’ mail route spanned 400 homes and eight miles, said his wife, Carla Gates. On Tuesday morning, he left early as usual and packed ice water in his cooler. Two hours after sunrise, he texted his wife to say it was already 88 degrees outside.
“If you go out, be careful,” he wrote. That was his last message to her.
The early summer heat was brutal, even in places where residents are used to hot summers. At Main Street Mowing in Dallas’ north suburbs, business always picks up when temperatures hit the triple digits, said Tanner Maxon, owner of the business. This year, the invitations will come in late June, not July or August.
“People are throwing pieces,” Mr. Maxon said. “The phone is ringing off the hook.”
Temperatures in the Dallas area will reach 103 on Monday, with a heat index around 110. By Wednesday, the National Weather Service expects temperatures to reach around 107. Highs in late June are usually in the 90s.
While linking a heat wave to climate change requires analysis, scientists have no doubt that heat waves around the world are becoming hotter, more frequent and longer lasting. The 2018 National Climate Assessment, a key science report from 13 federal agencies, noted that the frequency of heat waves in the United States has risen above average. From two per year in the 1960s to six per year in the 2010s.
In Austin, temperatures are expected to reach 103 on Monday. Paula Knight, 34, who runs a small business consulting group, tried — only briefly — to get some work done at an outdoor table at a coffee shop Monday afternoon.
Still, some residents said they were used to the scorching sun. While walking Monday morning in North Austin, 79-year-old Peter Oberda said: “It’s summer in Texas.”
David Montgomery Contributed reporting from Austin. John Keefe Also contributed.