US heat wave: High temperatures along with high humidity are likely to affect millions of Americans through the end of July

US heat wave: High temperatures along with high humidity are likely to affect millions of Americans through the end of July

More than 80 million Americans from the West to New England were under either heat warnings or warnings as of Friday morning.

“Record-breaking heat expected across Northeast US this weekend, while above-average (temperatures) persist in south-central US,” Weather Prediction Center wrote Thursday.
The highest temperature recorded Thursday was in Death Valley, California, which reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit, according to preliminary data compiled by the prediction center.
On Friday, highs will climb into the 100s in parts of the Southwest, Central Plains and Mississippi River Valley, the prediction center said. Temperatures will also hit the mid-90s Friday in parts of the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
But oppressive humidity will push the heat index – what the air feels as — even higher in some of these areas Friday and through the weekend. That includes possible heat index values ​​of 105-110 degrees Friday afternoon in St. Louis and Kansas City, and similar numbers in the Northeast in two days, forecasters warned.

The city of Dallas recorded its first heat-related death of the year, a 66-year-old woman who had underlying health conditions, County Health and Human Services said Thursday.

In Arizona, Maricopa County officials reported that at least 29 people died from heat-related issues since March — most of which were outdoors. That compares with 16 reported deaths during the same period in 2021, the county’s public health department said. Dozens of other deaths are under investigation in the county for heat-related causes.

The dangerous temperatures have pushed state and local leaders to issue heat alerts and offer resources to vulnerable residents. They are asking residents to stay hydrated and limit time outdoors as much as possible.

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In Philadelphia, officials extended a heat health emergency through Sunday — meaning resources including cooling centers, home visits from special teams and enhanced daytime hours for people experiencing homelessness will remain available through the weekend.
And in Washington, DC, the mayor also announced a heat emergency effective Monday morning, when temperatures are expected to be 95 degrees or higher. Shelters and cooling centers have also opened to serve those who need them, the mayor said.

The extreme heat in the US has also been mirrored in the deadly state of affairs in Europe, where records have been broken and the European Wildfire Information System put 19 European countries on “extreme danger” alert for wildfires.

Grim weekend ahead

About 85% of the US population – or 273 million people – could see high temperatures above 90 degrees over the next week. And about 55 million people could see high temperatures at or above 100 degrees over the next seven days.

Heat index for Friday
As of Thursday morning, 60 daily high temperature records had been tied or broken across the United States this week, and “more records are likely to be set over the next week,” Weather Prediction Center wrote.

Heat index values ​​- the temperature it feels like when heat combines with humidity – could top 100 degrees in a number of states through this weekend, especially in the Midwest, Southeast and on the East Coast.

Saturday's heat index warning
On Saturday, “sweltering temperatures will grip the Midwest and Central Plains, with warnings of high temperatures likely to exceed” 100 degrees, the weather forecast center said.

On Sunday, the heat index could climb above 105 in parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic on Sunday, the prediction center said.

Daytime temperatures could top 100 degrees across much of the Southwest this weekend, with some areas exceeding 110 degrees, according to the center.

The south-central region can expect to see high temperatures in the triple digits each day between Sunday and Thursday, the prediction center noted.

“There is some good news in the mid-range (after the weekend) as an approaching cold front brings a brief injection of cooler temperatures to the Midwest and Northeast, but the core of the intense heat shifts to the south-central US and the Pacific Northwest early next week,” wrote the prediction center.

    An aerial view of people gathered near a homeless camp Thursday afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona.

High temperatures also threaten livestock

As the high temperatures continue to oppress much of the country, officials are also faced with protecting farmers and their livestock.

In Missouri, the governor declared a drought emergency in 53 of the state’s more than 100 counties to allow farmers to use water from state parks. Officials are also considering using the parks to grow hay to feed farmers’ animals.

The situation in Texas is so dire that ranchers are running out of water — forcing them to sell their cattle at a rate not seen in more than a decade, according to David Anderson, a livestock economist at Texas A&M University.

The dry, hot conditions essentially cause the grass to die, thinning pastures where cattle graze heavily, leaving many ranchers with no choice but to send cattle they can’t feed to slaughter.

“Many ranchers rely on ponds and tanks to catch rainfall,” Anderson said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories about ranchers running out of water.”

CNN’s Andy Rose, Judson Jones, Paradise Afshar, Dakin Andone, Amir Vera and Amanda Musa contributed to this report.

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