Earth & Conservation

Empire Strikes and a Smothering Heat Wave: Photos

A wave of heat washed over the United States this week with startling results.

U.S. weather got weird this week, when an appropriately named "heat dome" trapped hot air over much of the country. Parts of the Northeast saw 90+ degree weather with a heat index -- the "feels like" measure which takes humidity into account -- of more than 100 degrees.

Journalist Henrik Moltke captured the moment a lightning bolt struck the Empire State Building. The phenomenon is actually not uncommon. The 103-story building gets hit a couple dozen times a year.

Children play in a fountain during the heat wave in Washington, D.C.

Credit: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

A fire fighter battles the so-called Sand Fire near Los Angeles. Severely dry conditions have made wildfires much more likely in the state. This fire in the Angeles National Forest was caused by a lighting strike.

Credit: REUTERS/Gene Blevins

The early morning sun begins to rise over the U.S. Capitol. The area saw a heat index this week of 110 degrees, according to the Washington Post.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images