Heat alerts cover more than 20 states today and Wednesday across the Southern Plains and parts of the Northeast, and temperatures will soar above the century mark for 60 million people over the next week. All while a similar heat wave is bringing all-time record temperatures to Western Europe.
“Dangerous heat will continue to impact a large portion of the US this week, with now more than 100 million people under excessive heat warnings or heat advisories,” the Weather Prediction Center said.
It means one-third of the US population is under heat advisories and excessive heat warnings, and more than 80% of the US population (around 265 million Americans) will see a high above 90 degrees over the next seven days.
The highest temperatures, pushing well into the triple digits, will be once again centered over the southern Plains.
More than two dozen record highs are possible today and tomorrow for the Southern US, including Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, and the East Coast is about to get into the mix as well.
The entire state of Oklahoma hit 103 degrees today, according to Oklahoma Mesonet, a joint weather updating system with Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.
“This is the first time in our network’s history (dating back to the mid 1990s) to have 120 sites hit that mark on the same day. Before today we had 2 days with all sites hitting 100F or higher (7/9/11 and 7/10/11),” a tweet from the project read.
A number of record highs have been set across Texas and Oklahoma today as the region bakes in extremely high temperatures. Abilene, Texas, and Oklahoma City both broke records set in 1936 – with both reaching 110 degrees, according to CNN meteorologist Mike Saenz.
Additionally, Wichita Falls, San Angelo and the Midland International Air & Space Port in Texas all broke records set in 2018, Saenz said.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set another unofficial record Tuesday for demand, a spokeswoman told CNN.
Another record is expected on Wednesday.
Parts of the Northeast will also have temperatures nearing daily records Wednesday and Thursday.
“Heat advisories are also now in effect for Wednesday for portions of the Northeast, including the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia to Boston, where heat index values are forecast to reach near 100 degrees,” the Weather Prediction Center said.
Intense heat disrupts Texas prisons and outdoor events
After a record-breaking heat day Monday, the southern Plains are being met with dangerous heat once again.
Dallas inched toward its daily record of 110 degrees yesterday but topped out at 109, making it the hottest day of the year so far.
Even first responders are falling victim to the scorching temperatures. A firefighter in Robertson County, Texas, suffered heat exhaustion on Tuesday – when temperatures rose to about 112 degrees – while battling a wildfire that was started by a resident burning trash, according to the Robertson County Emergency Management Facebook page.
The 15-acre fire destroyed one structure before volunteer fire departments stopped its spread, the post read.
And some Texas prison facilities housing inmates do not have working air conditioning, the state Department of Criminal Justice said Tuesday.
“There are 100 TDCJ units, 31 have full AC, 55 have partial AC, and 14 have no AC. We take numerous precautions to lessen the effects of hot temperatures for those incarcerated within our facilities,” agency spokesperson Amanda Hernandez told CNN in an email.
The agency says some inmates have fallen ill from heat-related injuries and needed medical care.
“In 2022, there have been seven inmates who required medical care beyond first aid for heat related injuries and none were fatal,” Hernandez said, adding the agency has measures in place to keep inmates safe.
“The department uses an array of measures to keep inmates safe. Everyone has access to ice and water. Fans are strategically placed in facilities to move the air. Inmates have access to a fan and they can access air conditioned respite areas when needed,” Hernandez said.
Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are in effect through Wednesday for North and Central Texas.
“The air temperatures will climb to 105 to 110 degrees in the warning area, with heat index values over 105 degrees in the advisory area,” the National Weather Service in Fort Worth said.
Southern and Midwest states are feeling the burn, too
As hot temperatures, low humidity, and wind speeds pick up, a critical fire danger threat is also in effect for northern Texas and central Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City could see highs nearing 110 degrees today, which would break their daily record of 109 set back in 1936.
“The last time we had a substantial stretch of heat was in 2011, when we had 63 days greater than or equal to 100 degrees,” Vivek Mahale, a Norman National Weather Service meteorologist, said.
Mahale expects the above-average heat to continue into at least Sunday, with every day reaching the triple-digit mark. The Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport has seen nine days above 100 degrees this month.
He advised the best thing you can do to prepare is to check on vulnerable populations as temperatures will be five to seven degrees above normal.
“We really want to emphasize you want to check on your friends, family, and neighbors during the heatwave, especially susceptible populations such as the elderly,” Mahale said.
About 8,800 customers in western Arkansas – where temperatures were forecast to reach 106 degrees Fahrenheit – were without power around noon Tuesday after a windstorm damaged the local electric system.
While the windstorm broke more than 40 electric poles, Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers told CNN, “the problem here is the heat.”
Paris High School opened for people “who need a cool place to be after last night’s storms,” according to a Facebook post, a resource the mayor urged residents to take advantage of.
“Don’t try to brave out the heat,” the mayor said. “Heat-related illness is a serious matter.”
In Louisiana, a funeral will be held Thursday for a Natchitoches Police Department officer who died Saturday evening from “an unexpected heat related medical event while working in the downtown district,” the police department announced on Facebook Tuesday. Natchitoches is about 76 miles southeast of Shreveport.
“Please continue to keep his family and all that had the privilege of knowing Officer Brian Olliff in your thoughts and prayers,” the post read.
Farther north, Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration encouraged employers to be aware of heat hazards and help prevent heat illness.
“Whether you’re working indoors or outdoors, hot and humid conditions can pose serious risks to workers’ health, but heat-related illnesses are preventable,” Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Director Bart Pickelman said in a news release.
Employers, it said, should have detailed procedures in place for monitoring the heat index, provisioning water and caring for a sick employee, it said.
New York, Boston and Philadelphia brace for sweltering week ahead
Heat advisories are in effect Wednesday for the Northeast, including New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia.
“Oppressive heat and humidity returns this week,” the Boston National Weather Service tweeted.
Heat index values – the temperature it feels like when heat is combined with humidity – could top 100 degrees in some areas, generating dangerous conditions for Mid-Atlantic and New England residents.
The heat and humidity won’t just hug the coast. Upstate New York could also see temperatures well above average.
Albany, New York, is soaring above its average of 84 degrees for this time of year, and the city could near its record of 97 degrees tomorrow with the stifling heat.
To make matters worse, humidity combined with heat will make some areas feel 5-10 degrees hotter.
“This is going to be little bit (warmer) than just the typical hot and humid weather that we get in July,” Mike Evans, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Albany, New York, told CNN.
Evans said dew points could push 70 degrees tomorrow, which is when humidity becomes “very noticeable.”
Portions of Massachusetts will reach record levels as soon as Wednesday, as temperatures reach the upper 90s, and will continue through the rest of the week in the Northeast.
“This is going to be the hottest day we’ve had so far, this summer. We really haven’t had too hot of a summer here, at least in the Northeast,” Evans said.
The US isn’t likely to see much relief over the next week. The Climate Prediction Center forecasts above average temperatures will likely last well into next week for most of the lower 48.