The temperature is 115 plus degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius), and people are soaked with sweat. It's the hottest it's ever been since June 26, 1889. You could fry an egg on the sidewalk. Everyone has their air conditioner cranked up, and those not fortunate enough to own one are desperately looking to cool down. Just staying outside for a prolonged period of time can be dangerous. No one wants to move. Everyone is understandably cranky because of the hot weather, but according to the weatherman, there's no sign of things cooling down.
It's the Heat Wave, a common device employed by writers to increase irritability and stress among characters Locked in a Room and Getting Hot in Here, in a Hostage Situation, in a Die Hard Plot, or in a climactic Courtroom Battle. In TV episodes and movies in which the entire plot takes place in one day, the Heat Wave will be dubbed in-universe as The Hottest Day of the Year. Alternatively, or additionally, the Heat Wave may serve as a symbolic metaphor for the tension or anger that builds up among the characters throughout the story.
Of course, the heat can also serve as a good excuse for having characters walk around in skimpy or soaked-to-the-skin clothing.
See also Big Blackout. Like Snowed-In and Rain, Rain, Go Away, an aversion of It's Always Spring. Contrast Cold Snap, the other temperature extreme. Often a sign that A Storm Is Coming, in fiction as in real life.
A.k.a. Long Hot Summer (media shorthand for the urban riots of the '60s-70s) or The Dog Days Of Summer.
- The Hiderigami in Ayakashi Triangle causes a heatwave throughout Omiko City shortly after being released, as it enjoys and is empowered by the misery it causes. Suzu in particular is left completely exhausted, sweaty, and panting wildly, all of which Matsuri can't help but enjoy.
- A Certain Magical Index:
- The plot of one of the later New Testament novels has Academy City get hit with an extreme heat wave in the middle of winter, such that the city completely shuts down and everyone starts wearing only their swimsuits in an effort to cool off. On top of that, bizarre monsters known as "Elements" being appearing and attacking anyone they find. It turns out that the intense heat was created by one of Kamisato's girls using a satellite to literally microwave the city... and she was doing this because it weakened the Elements enough that they could be fought and resisted by the Esper population. Without the heat, they would have been unstoppable.
- The series also begins in one as it takes place in summer, the very first event in the series has a Lightning Esper launching an attack so powerful it knocks out the air conditioning for a city block, including the main character's. Such misfortune...
- An early episode of Gintama has an increasingly irate Gintoki searching for a place to get a new electric fan after the one in his house breaks down during a heat wave.
- Macross 7 does it as well, with the heat wave being caused by the titular spacecraft heading dangerously close to a sun.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place towards the end of a 15-year-long heat wave caused by Second Impact shifting the planet's axis, eliminating the Antarctic continent and screwing up every weather pattern.
- Ranma ½: Escaping a heatwave kicks off the plot of the 2nd movie. Needless to say, it goes From Bad to Worse.
- A recurring gag in Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku. The first heatwave chapter (27) went as high as 52.4C.
- During the Confessor Arc of Astro City, a major heatwave heightens the amount of paranoia and short-fuses that accompanied a Serial Killing, with the narrator Lampshading this trope.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is set during a heat (and crime) wave. The local anchors seem to think the former excuses the latter. By the end of the first volume, Bruce Wayne is back in the suit and it's pouring rain. One of the newscasters in the animated version refers to the oncoming storm (and, by symbolism, Batman's return) as coming down on Gotham like "the wrath of God."
- Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's The Long Halloween opens on the super-hot night of Johnny Viti's marriage. As the nephew of Carmine Falcone, this mob-marriage sees the very brief peace in Gotham before 1) Gordon, Batman, and Harvey Dent ally to take Falcone down, 2) the eventual war between the old school gangs and the new wave of costumed freaks, and 3) the beginning of the Halloween killer's serial murders.
- Has a call back in the sequel, Dark Victory, where The Remnant of the Falcone crime family gathers in the cemetery before a similar series of events. Catwoman, who'd predicted the previous hot night's reputation, says "It's hot. But, not as hot as the night Johnny Viti got married."
- Milestone Comics had a quasi-Crisis Crossover called Long Hot Summer, where the stories of its titles converged around the construction of the "Utopia Park" theme park in the middle of the worst part of Dakota City, and the stresses caused during the summer when the park was built culminating in the Blood Syndicate crashing the gates on opening day and unintentionally inciting a massive riot.
- 12 Angry Men. A jury deliberates the fate of a young man accused of murder on The Hottest Day of The Year.
- Barton Fink takes place in a heat wave as oppressive as the protagonist's mental state.
- Body Heat takes place during an especially hot Florida summer.
- Dog Day Afternoon. Al Pacino unsuccessfully robs a bank and winds up creating a hostage situation on The Hottest Day of The Year.
- Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. Racist attitudes collide on The Hottest Day of The Year.
- Falling Down. A man having a mental breakdown wanders the streets of Los Angeles and, alienated by his experiences, turns to vigilantism on The Hottest Day of The Year.
- The '70s Made-for-TV Disaster Movie Heatwave! involves one of these, naturally.
- Hundstage. Taking place during the titular "dog days", traditional considered the hottest period of the year, this film is about suburban Austrians being unkind, sleazy, or downright malevolent to each other.
- Hunky Dory is set in Swansea, Wales during the summer of 1976, when the hottest weather ever recorded hit the United Kingdom.
- Laura begins with Waldo recalling the day of Laura's death as "the hottest Sunday in my recollection."
- The Long, Hot Summer is set in Mississippi in the middle of the summer.
- In Passport to Pimlico, the rebel state of Burgundy is established in central London during an un-British heatwave. When the more traditional London rain returns, so does normality.
- A native informs the military that the titular creature in Predator only appears during the hottest years. Predator 2 has another one stalk the streets of Los Angeles during a heat wave. Possibly justified in that yautja usually wear a bodysuit made of thermal netting, meaning they might be ectothermic and would feel more comfortable in hot environments.
- Rear Window: At the beginning of the film, the camera lingers on a thermometer showing the temperature as 90 degrees (32.2 °C). The same day, one of the characters remarks that trouble seems to be brewing. Sure enough, it is. At the end of the film, the thermometer is shown again—and it reads 70 degrees (21 °C), showing that things have cooled down in the neighborhood now that the murderer has been caught.
- A heatwave is mentioned at the start of Resident Evil: Apocalypse; behind the scenes, the film-makers decided to bring it up as an excuse to get the characters (especially Jill Valentine) in summer clothes, even during the night. Unfortunately for the actors, filming took place in Vancouver, during the winter.
- The New York heatwave in The Seven Year Itch not only inspires Richard Sherman to contemplate illicit things with The Girl in the upstairs apartment while his wife and kids are escaping the heat in the country but also leads to the Trope Naming Marilyn Maneuver.
- Akira Kurosawa's Stray Dog (Nora Inu) has an empathic heat wave going on throughout the movie.
- A Streetcar Named Desire. You can feel the sweat pouring off Marlon Brando. It's set in The Big Easy of course, where it's like this 9 months of the year.
- Summer of Sam: Old school Italian street toughs beat on their punk rocker ex-friend, The Son of Sam killer commits several murders, and a full-blown blackout/riot breaks out, all against the backdrop of the infamous NY summer of 1977.
- Meta example: In Throw Momma from the Train, the writer protagonist spends the entire movie trying to find a synonym for "It was a hot night" as an intro for his new thriller, only to be informed by Momma that the night was "sultry. It's too goddamn sultry in here!" He then attempts to strangle the poor lady.
- Tick Tick Tick, a 1970 film about racial tensions in a small Mississippi town, opens with a scene of an egg literally being fried on a sidewalk.
- A Time to Kill. Matthew McConaughey defends a Mississippi black man played by Samuel L. Jackson who has killed his daughter's murderers during a Heatwave. See any Southern summer courtroom scene, really.
- In Ingmar Bergman's Tystnaden, the tension between the two sisters is emphasized by the high temperatures. The heat prompts Anna to go back home, leaving her sister to die alone.
- The first (and crucial) part of the novel Atonement takes place during a record heat wave, and characters comment at least once on how all this heat will make young people behave recklessly. They do.
- Used twice in Beka Cooper:
- Beka describes the weather as being very hot and stifling during the climax of Terrier, when the Guard finally discovers where the bodies of the latest batch of disappeared miners have gone, and thus proof of who's responsible. A riot breaks out in short order.
- Bloodhound opens during a heatwave, which signifies food shortage from a bad harvest as well as rising tension in the Lower City. Soon enough, a bread riot breaks out that results in every one of Beka's comrades being injured.
- Crime and Punishment begins on an "exceptionally hot evening early in July".
- Cujo by Stephen King involves a woman and her son trapped in a car by a rabid dog. The stifling weather just makes things worse.
- This happens at the end of Ray Bradbury's ode to summer Dandelion Wine.
- A frequent device in The Dresden Files. Summer Knight makes the most use of the heat wave motif, feeding into Harry's irritability given his recent defeat and helping to highlight how things are going seriously wrong with the Summer fae. It tends to be inverted in later books, though: after Harry becomes the Winter Knight, most books are set during cold snaps.
- In Alfred Bester's "Fondly Fahrenheit", the main character has a Three Laws-Compliant android, except that it will malfunction and kill people in hot weather (over 90°F / 32.2 °C). And he keeps on bringing it to hot planets.
- The events recalled by Leo Colston in LP Hartley's The Go-Between take place in the long hot summer of 1900. The temperatures rise as the plot unfolds, but the weather breaks at the climax with a thunderstorm.
- In The Great Gatsby, the love triangle between Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom comes to a climax during what is described by all characters present as the hottest day of the year, the temperature obviously representing the high emotions running. This trope is then inverted in the next chapter, in which the now cool weather symbolizes the ending of Gatsby and Daisy's love affair, something he remains in complete denial of until the very end.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix starts with a heat wave, which is possibly supposed to symbolize Harry being irritable because he hasn't been able to get any information about Voldemort and the Dursleys are irritable because there's a drought and they're busy making sure their neighbors don't cheat on the "no water sprinklers" ban. Ironically, the more dangerous part occurs when temperatures DROP, because that signifies the entrance of dementors.
- Heat Wave, the first book Richard Castle's first Nikki Heat book takes place in the middle of one in NYC.
- The Discworld novel Men at Arms takes place during a heatwave in Ankh-Morpork. This is a bad thing tension-wise because Ankh-Morporkians frequently start fires during riots and if anyone sets fire to anything in this heat, the whole city will go up.
- The Rainbow Magic series has this in Autumn the Falling Leaves Fairy's book. Jack Frost wanted to skip fall and go from summer to winter, but instead he created an endless summer.
- "Red Wind": This Raymond Chandler story takes place during the Santa Ana winds. The well-known Weather Report Opening is quoted up top.
- Serpico. Serpico's attempt to get the Mayor's office to investigate the police corruption he's encountering is turned down because a long hot summer with more riots is expected, so the Mayor can't afford to alienate the police.
- The Santa Ana winds are also mentioned in Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
The baby frets. The maid sulks. I rekindle a waning argument with the telephone company, then cut my losses and lie down, given over to whatever is in the air. To live with the Santa Ana is to accept, consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior. ...[T]he violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.
- The murder in Albert Camus's The Stranger takes place on an overwhelmingly hot and bright day; the heat wave assaulting all the senses of the murderer-protagonist.
- Heat is a recurring theme; it's also brutally hot on the day of Mme. Meursault's funeral. Meursault himself lampshades the trope before his trial when he muses that when it became hot again, he knew something was going to happen.
- Ma Brindle causes a localized heatwave when she turns her oven all the way up to the "Special" setting, in order to bake a very unique dessert in the children's book Sweet Dream Pie.
- In G.R.R.Martin's Dunk and Egg novella The Sworn Sword, the feud between Ser Eustace Osgrey and Lady Rohanne Webber starts during a heat wave and is kick-started by Lady Rohanne cutting Ser Eustace's water supply in the middle of a drought.
- To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch defends an innocent black man on a brutally hot day, accused of rape on a brutally hot day.
- The Ray Bradbury short story "Touched With Fire" (in the anthology The October Country) has its main characters theorizing about heat and its effects on people: one character asserts that the most murderous temperature is 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6 °C). Cooler than that you can cope with; hotter than that and you don't want to expend energy on violent behavior.
- Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: The heat at Lake Powell is giving characters who are recreating their discomfort.
- Several books into The Wheel of Time, the Dark One's influence on the world extends to causing a heat wave that covers the entire known world. This leads to a lengthy arc in the 6-8th books in which the characters must find a Weather-Control Machine and people with the expertise to fix the climate.
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete: In "The Call", Big Pete and Little Pete spend the hottest day of the summer trying to find out why a mysterious phone booth on the edge of town has been ringing nonstop for twenty-seven years.
- The aforementioned Ray Bradbury story (see Literature above) was adapted into an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called "Shopping for Death".
- Another episode, "Toby", takes place during a heat wave in 1910 New York.
- Black Books: All three main characters go insane during a heat wave. Fran can't sleep, partly due to the heat and partly because her landlord has moved her wall, shrinking her flat. Bernard is stalking Fran's new neighbour and trying to make her his summer girlfriend. If Manny's temperature exceeds 88 degrees (31 °C) it will trigger "Dave's Syndrome" and, naturally, Bernard does everything he can to set Manny off: insisting he wear a winter jacket, a hot water bottle, and "Heat B Gone Booties", storing books in the oven.
- The main plot of the Broad City episode "In Heat" concerns Abbi and Ilana's efforts to find an AC in 100-degree weather.
- "Wild Onions", the eighth episode of The Chicago Code, takes place during a brutal Chicago heat wave, and references the statistical correlation of above-average heat and violent crime.
- The F.B.I.: "Forest of the Night" is set in a small town in Oregon where it hasn't rained for more than 90 days. Everyone is on edge, tempers are fraying, the forest is tinder dry...and then a small religious community receives an extortion note threatening to torch their farm if they don't pay $5,000.
- A clever touch in The Flash (1990) series was Captain Cold making his debut while Central City was in the middle of a brutal heat wave.
- In season 9 of Hawaii Five-0, "Mimiki Ke Kai, Ahuwale Ka Papa Leho" saw the island and the task force dealing with one in different ways. McGarrett and Danny are searching for a fugitive who killed two police officers only to learn she got trapped in an elevator when the power went out earlier in the day. Grover takes advantage of the heat to par a game of golf to his caddie's irritation. Meanwhile, Tani and Junior first deal with a man suffering from heat stroke and wielding a shotgun then search for a man who stole her car for the air conditioning.
- At least a few episodes of Hill Street Blues (such as episodes 2-3 of season 3), deal with the problems caused by high summer temperatures in a northern city where people aren't used to the heat. The heat causes domestic violence to flare and stresses the tempers of criminals, ordinary citizens as well as the police officers (neither the police cars nor the station house is air-conditioned).
- The iCarly episode "iBeat the Heat".
- In Prison Break Michael sabotages the air conditioning during a heat wave. This works out exactly as planned, i.e. triggers a prison riot.
- The Starsky & Hutch episode "Death in a Different Place" takes place during one. After the heat causes the Torino to break down in the same spot on the third day in a row, the guys use Hutch's car for the rest of the episode.
- Taken to the absolute extreme in National Geographic's Swallowed by the Sun, a hypothetical look at what would happen if our sun aged fast enough to become a red giant in our lifetime. Temperatures quickly rise past the boiling point of water, making the Earth's surface uninhabitable. Humanity is able to survive at first by moving underground, but eventually even this fails as the sun ages rapidly. It actually becomes so hot at one point, that for a while there's no longer enough oxygen for fire, and anything made of concrete is destroyed because the water it was created with vaporizes from the inside. By the time the oxygen does come back, Earth's temperature is thousands of degrees, which straight-up melts even hardy structures like the Pyramids and Stonehenge.
- The Twilight Zone (1959): The episode "The Midnight Sun" features a catastrophic heat wave caused by the Earth moving closer to the sun. It turns out in the Cruel Twist Ending that it was All Just a Dream, but reality isn't much better: the Earth is moving away from the sun, resulting in the Earth gradually freezing.
- The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Burning Man", Kansas is experiencing its hottest July in 16 or 17 years in 1936.
- In Victorious one of these days prompts the characters to go to the beach. Instead of being a Beach Episode however, they get stuck in an RV (except for The Ditz who spends the episode flirting with guys and oblivious to her friends' calls and texts). Hilarity Ensues as they try to keep cool.
- In spite of the title, "Long Hot Summer" by The Style Council isn't explicitly about this. Coincidentally, when the song reached the UK top 5 charts in the (northern) summer of 1983, Britain experienced its hottest summer to date.
- The 1963 Martha And The Vandellas hit "Heat Wave" compares her feelings for a guy to this.
- The Irving Berlin song "Heat Wave," originally written for Ethel Waters in the revue As Thousands Cheer but later featured in more than one movie musical, including, ironically, White Christmas.
- Inherit the Wind takes place during the Hottest Week of the Year. (Which the Scopes Trial, on which the plot is based, did too.) The characters frequently comment on how hot it is, and there's a small running gag of church-sponsored fans. Drummond doesn't get one.
- The Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights is set during a heat wave in New York.
- Kiss Me, Kate has the song "Too Darn Hot."
- 1776 takes place during what really was an especially hot summer, which didn't do much for the Congressional delegates' tempers. The characters comment on it in more than one musical number.
- "Sit Down, John":
It's 90 degrees,
Have mercy, John, please,
It's hot as hell
- "The Egg":
God knows the temperature's hot enough
To hatch a stone, let alone an egg.
- "Sit Down, John":
- William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has one of its most pivotal scenes, where Tybalt kills Mercutio and Romeo kills Tybalt in vengeance, happen during an unusually hot day, setting the stage for the tragedy to come.
- Street Scene takes place over two brutally hot days in June. Many characters complain about the weather, though the ice cream vendors seem to be doing good business. The first song in the musical adaptation is "Ain't It Awful, The Heat?"
- Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive has a literally deadly heat wave as a possible event you need to prepare for on day 2 (the alternative is an equally lethal Cold Snap).
- Final Fantasy XIV has Heat Wave as an in-game weather status in some zones - most commonly Southern Thanalan and Amh Araeng. There's also the eternal light of the First until a certain spoiler event.
- A random event in the Jagged Alliance series that negatively affects the mercenaries' stamina for the day. Naturally, some are affected more and some aren't affected at all, introducing some variation into the game dynamic.
- In Plants vs. Zombies, the DS version has a minigame set during a literal heat wave.
- The Olympus Mon Groudon can cause a supernatural and apocalyptic heat wave just by being awake, which even affects the overworld in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. As Primal Groudon, it gains the even more devastating Desolate Land Ability — it lasts for as long as it's out, is so hot that Water-type moves completely fail to work (and yet Ice-type moves work just fine), and can't be overwritten by any weather condition that isn't brought forth by Primordial Sea or Delta Stream (though Air Lock and Cloud Nine can No-Sell all of Desolate Land's effects other than auto-failing weather-changing moves).
- In battle, Pokémon with the move Sunny Day or the ability Drought can cause harsh sunlight to shine down for up to five turns, causing various effects (such as strengthing Fire-type attacks, weakening Water-type attacks, and cutting out the charge time of the Grass-type move Solar Beam).
- There's also the move literally called Heat Wave, which is slightly stronger (though less accurate) than Flamethrower. Though the move mentions the user exhaling hot breath, a lot of Flying-type Pokémon are able to learn it through Move Tutors (suggesting they spread hot wind with their wings, which checks out with the Japanese name translating to "Hot Wind").
- Heat Wave is an actual weather condition in Persona 5 with actual effects on Mementos, a Palace belonging to the majority of Tokyo's residents, who aren't distorted enough to have a Palace of their own. During a Heat Wave, enemies have a chance to start with the Burn Status Effect.
- Rimworld: Heat Waves, along with their chilling counterpart, are events the AI storyteller can throw at your colony to make everyone's lives more difficult. Expect rotting food due to failing refrigeration and heatstroke problems if you aren't prepared.
- The Sims has had heat waves as an in-game event ever since weather was introduced to the game in The Sims 2. In The Sims 4, unless you specifically set your Sims to have temperature immunity or make sure to keep your Sims cool, they can be lethal.
- Xenogears has the Ignas/Aveh desert, which seems to be locked into a near permanent heat wave per game text and Perfect Works.
- The Happy Tree Friends episode "Swelter Skelter" has this premise. Lifty and Shifty decide to solve the issue by "kidnapping" Cro-Marmot and using him as air conditioning, only to get the exact opposite problem.
- MoniRobo: In this story, a heatwave struck and everyone at Masayoshi's workplace had to wear light clothing when the air conditioner broke. However, he notices his coworker Hanayo Sachiusu was the only employee who wore long-sleeved clothes even at the BBQ party thrown at his workplace. When Masayoshi came to return the bag she left behind at the party, he finds her with a man who dragged her back home and verbally abused her.
- Animaniacs (1993): In "The Kid in the Lid", two kids named Scooter and Mary have to stay inside their air-conditioned house and watch television because it's too hot for them to play outside. This is in contrast to the book being parodied, where its two kids have to stay inside due to it being too rainy. In his attempt to bathe the kids' pet woodchuck, Yakko, as the titular Kid in the Lid, manages to flood the streets with water from the kids' toilet, which the other kids swim in to beat the heat.
Scooter: Kids came from all over to splash in the lake, not knowing the source was our potty break.
Mary: They're swimming in water straight out of our toilet!
Scooter: Think we should tell them?
Yakko: Nah, that'd just spoil it.
- Arthur had an episode called "The Blackout" where one of these causes a Big Blackout in Elwood City. The Reads are then taught by the Molinas about how they deal with blackouts, being that they used to live in Ecuador where they are common.
- Big City Greens: The episode “Heat Beaters” is about an extreme heat wave hitting Big City. Despite this, Cricket insists on playing Horse with Remy for the sake of his pride. Meanwhile, Bill’s air conditioner nullifies the heat… a bit too well. Now, the Green household is a frozen wasteland.
- In The Boondocks episode "The Block Is Hot", there's a sudden heat wave in the middle of February. Huey (who is wearing a jacket in case it starts snowing again) notes how the heat seems to drive people crazy. Eventually, the events of the episode culminate in mobs of people rioting over a lemonade stand. And then the snow starts falling again, so everyone comes back to their senses.
- Camp Lazlo: The episode "Over Cooked Beans" shows all of Prickly Pines in a heatwave, and when Jelly Cabin finds salvation in an air conditioner that fell from the sky, the entire camp ends up fighting each other for it.
- This occurred in a Danny Phantom episode. Naturally, the emotional Danny has a mean case of the frownies because of it. Mayor Vlad solves the problem by forcing a weather ghost to cool the temperature, but as always, all hell breaks loose when he creates violent storms afterwards. It takes Danny's emotions (and a machine to enhance it) to win this battle.
- The Darkwing Duck episode "Dry Hard" has St. Canard in the grip of a weeks-long heatwave, compounded by a crooked salesman (who later becomes the Fearsome Five supervillain the Liquidator) using nefarious means to corner the market on drinking water.
- The DuckTales (1987) episode "A Whale of a Bad Time", starts with Huey, Dewey, and Louie complaining about a heat wave and a broken air conditioner.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: "Pop Goes the Ed" involved the culdesac suffering a severe heat wave. The Eds solve their initial problem by stuffing themselves into Ed's freezer, but when Sarah kicks them out they find a new source of refreshment by bombing the neighborhood pool party... and wind up trapped in a pool with no trunks until night comes in and they start freezing.
- Fluffy Gardens: Mrs. Toasty the Sheep deals with heatwaves on a regular basis since she lives in the hottest place in Fluffy Gardens, but one episode had a more extreme one than usual, which is when her already thick fleece inconveniently grew longer (of course, she decides to trim it shorter). In the first episode focused on her, she decided that the best way of dealing with summer's temperatures is by visiting her aunt in the frosty mountains.
- Futurama where global warming and lack of ice on a nearby comet combine to make a heat wave.
- In the Garfield and Friends episode "Heatwave Holiday", it is so hot that Jon Arbuckle decides to cool off by putting up his Christmas decorations early to "think cool".
- The The Garfield Show episode "Unfair Weather" saw the cast suffer from the effects of a massive heat wave and be forced to go on a camping trip despite this. It ultimately turns out that a corrupt businessman was using a Weather Manipulation machine to keep the heat wave going so he could sell his line of air conditioners and snow cones.
- Gravity Falls: "The Deep End" begins on "the hottest day of the summer", which also happens to be opening day at the local public pool, which is where the various sub-plots kick off.
- Heckle and Jeckle have a picnic in the rain in "The Rainmakers," so upon a chicken wishbone they wish it would stop raining forever. Their wish comes true but now the mother of all heat waves takes hold. The birds have to find a way to make it rain again.
- The Hey Arnold! episode "Heat," in which a heat wave caused the neighborhood children to rebel against a megalomaniac ice cream salesman.
- Jimmy Two-Shoes: Miseryville is usually a very sweltering place given its nature, but the episode "Heat Blanket Jimmy" sees temperatures become unbearable for even the demonic populace. While Jimmy, Beezy, and Heloise attempt to beat this with a trip to the beach, Lucius prances around Miseryville to torment his subjects with his tempting (but can't have) ice cream.
- Molly of Denali: In "Heat Wave," Qyah is in the midst of a heat wave. It is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is super hot by Qyah standards. Notably, Trini isn't bothered by the heat since she's from Texas, where it can be up to 95 degrees for a whole month.
- An episode of The Mr. Men Show, appropriately titled "Heatwave."
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey: In "An Inconvenient Goof", Charles Darwin Middle School is struck by a heat wave after the air conditioners get broken. It got so hot the Arctic Ring melted and flooded the school.
- The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Ice Sore" has Townsville dealing with an extreme heatwave which is when Blossom conveniently discovers her ice breath ability.
- The Recess episode "The Coolest Heatwave Ever", when the gang search for the backup water valve during a heatwave.
- Rugrats (1991) had an episode entitled "Heat Wave," in which the babies visit the park on a sweltering summer day. After the water fountain breaks down, they befriend another baby and set out on an adventure to find "the land of many waters" (ie, the sprinklers on the other side of the park).
- Shaun the Sheep: "If You Can't Stand The Heat" features the sheep trying to cool off in the swimming pool, but the Farmer and Bitzer won't let them.
- The Simpsons
- When Homer gets Lisa a sax instead of an air conditioner. Twice.
- Occurred in another episode when the whole Springfield cranked up the air conditioners during the heatwave and one more electric output will cause a blackout. Unfortunately, it was Homer's fault for plugging in the dancing Santa Claus.
- And again in the episode when the family decides to get an above-ground pool, leading Lisa to become popular and Bart to live out a Rear Window spoof with a broken leg.
- The Smurfs (1981) had a few episodes that started with them. One notable episode was "The Magnifying Mixture", which kicked off the Attack Of The 50-Inch Whatever plot.
- 1973-74 Superfriends. One episode ("Too Hot To Handle") had a worldwide heat wave caused by alien interference. They used a satellite to draw the Earth closer to the Sun so it would be xenoformed to make it hotter and thus more comfortable for them when they arrived.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) episode "Burne's Blues" becomes this with someone destroying the air conditioners. Also in "Too Hot to Handle" but this time caused by Vernon's nephew's solar magnet.
- One study showed that incidence of mental disorders with violent presentations increased when the temperature rose above 80 degrees Fahrenheit / 26.6 °C. Also, the FBI found an average increase of between 35-40% in the murder rate in urban areas from February to July over a span of five years of records.
- Another study shows that with each degree of temperature rise, violence increases by up to 20%.
- Summer heat is frequently cited as a contributing factor to urban riots. For instance, the disturbances in Watts (1965) and in Newark and Detroit (1967) all took place during periods of higher-than-normal temperatures in those cities. And it was 90°F / 32.2 °C in April when the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles started.
- As in 1776 above, it was unbearably hot in Philadelphia near the end (May-July, 1776) of the Second Continental Congress, during which the American Declaration of Independence was drafted and voted on. It would also have been incredibly muggy: Philadelphia, being in the Delaware River valley, is very humid, and various features of geography give it very still air, as well.
- The 2003 Big Blackout in the northeastern U.S. and parts of Canada came on a blisteringly hot August day, especially in New York City. Think of the people stuck in the subways and elevators, where it would be even hotter...
- During the summer of 1977, described as the "summer that New York lost its mind", temperatures were skyrocketing, corruption was rampant, and the Serial Killer Son of Sam had made the city his personal hunting ground. A Big Blackout that July capped everything off, leading to riots and looting—it took decades for some neighborhoods to recover.
- The summer of 2011 was an aversion to the "heat waves cause crime" trope. Temperature records were broken all across the U.S. with many cities reporting 50+ (and even 90+) days of serial temperatures over 100°F / 37.7 °C. Several states also recorded the hottest months of June, July, August, and September ever, with similar drought records being set. Despite this, reported crime was actually lower compared to years previous. Presumably, it's not worth the energy to commit high crime in sizzling temperatures.
- The period of late 2012 - early 2013 is often referred to in Australia as the "Angry Summer", where over 123 weather records were broken in Australia's hottest summer on average, and may have contributed to the rise in violence (particularly gang-related incidents in Sydney) throughout the rest of the year. It also brought about nature's anger with bushfires across Tasmania and floods in coastal Queensland.
- The Cronulla riots in Sydney in 2005 took place in December, during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
- In 2017, power was intentionally cut for thousands of homes throughout Adelaide in the middle of a major heatwave to save energy. Despite lasting for less than an hour, the entire city was furious at the government for the cut, as well as not keeping enough power stations and making it clear that they did not learn from the infamous statewide blackout in September 2016. The reigning government lost at the following election, with the power cut as a cited reason.
- Late 2019 brought serve heatwaves across Australia that lead to the Black Summer bushfires. People across the nation and even in New Zealand could smell smoke from hundreds of miles away. Despite calls for them to be cancelled, major New Years' fireworks shows went on ahead, with extra firefighters on standby in the event of a spark, which happened in South Australia after the 9pm fireworks caused a fire near Adelaide Oval.
- The heat wave that affected Europe in 2003 deserves mention as it was the strongest one recorded since at least 1540, claiming 70,000 deaths and hitting France especially hard.
- Spain suffered in July 2015 the longest-lasting heat wave since registers exist, with three hot weeks of temperatures above or around 95°F / 35 °C even in those regions where summer temperatures are far milder.
- A particularly bad heat wave hit much of the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, in the summer of 2021. Lytton, a small town in British Columbia, broke the all-time hottest temperature record in Canada for three consecutive days (culminating with an all-time high of 49.6 °C (121.3 °F)) on June 29...and then a day later, was largely destroyed by an extremely fast-moving wildfire.