The heat wave that has been plaguing huge stretches of the southern U.S. is forecast to continue in areas that have been scalding for weeks – and spread further across the central U.S. over the next few days and even weeks.
“A dangerous, long-lived, and record breaking heat wave will continue over the Southwest through this weekend, particularly in the low desert areas, with triple-digit high temperatures also extending northward into the central Great Basin this weekend,” National Weather Service forecaster Mussie Kebede said.
In addition to the Southwest heat, “oppressive heat and humidity are forecast to create widespread 105-110 degree heat indices across the mid-South, Southeast and Gulf Coast through early this weekend,” he added.
More than 75 million Americans were under excessive heat warnings, heat advisories and excessive heat watches as the weekend began Saturday.
The heat is already being blamed for at least 18 confirmed deaths in the Phoenix metro area, with 69 other deaths suspected to be heat-related as of July 15. Gov. Katie Hobbs asked the state’s utility companies in a letter Friday to submit plans for preventing and responding to outages and to meet to discuss the state’s power infrastructure in future heat waves.
“As this devastating heat wave continues, the risk of heat-related deaths, illness and injury will only increase,” Hobbs said in the letter.
Phoenix hit 23 straight days of temperatures at or above 110 degrees on Saturday, and was on track to top out over 115 degrees for the sixth straight day, the National Weather Service there said. If it cracks 115, it would tie the record for longest stretch of days with highs at that temperature.
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Next week’s forecast: More ‘excessive heat’
Sweltering heat is expected to continue in the Southwest through at least July 28, with some moderation thereafter, the weather service said.
While the heat has been constant in the Desert Southwest over the past few weeks, the Rockies and most of the Plains have avoided long stretches of intense heat this summer, AccuWeather forecasters said. But that will change in the coming days.
Indeed, hot summertime conditions look to expand over most of the remainder of the Lower 48 beginning the middle of next week, the weather service predicted. Many locations within the Midwest may reach their hottest temperatures of the year.
The excessive heat is also forecast to spread into the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic by the end of next week, according to a forecast map from the Climate Prediction Center.
Some 90-degree heat could surge into the Northeast later next week as well, Weather.com meteorologists warned.
What about August?
Overall, little sustained relief from the heat is in the forecast for the next few weeks as a heat dome, driven by strong high pressure, continues to show staying power into at least the early part of August, according to Bill Deger, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.
And according to the latest extended outlook from the Climate Prediction Center, much of the Plains from the Missouri Valley to Texas is likely to see above-average heat last through the rest of July into the first few days of August.
Beyond that, most of the nation is forecast to see a hotter-than-average August, the climate center said: “Widespread above normal temperatures are favored over much of the contiguous U.S.,” the center said.
Only a small portion of the Upper Midwest should see a cooler-than-average August.
Take the heat seriously
Take the heat seriously, the weather service said Friday, noting that the heat will continue to reach levels that could pose a health risk for many people. Some suggestions and warnings:
- Avoid extended time outdoors.
- The heat could be deadly to anyone without effective cooling and adequate hydration.
- Nighttime temperatures will provide very little relief.
- Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S.