Epic heat wave spreads from the Midwest to the East Coast, bringing warnings to 72 million

View of a Saguaro, a resilient desert cacti affected by Arizona's extreme heat and prolonged drought, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, July 25, 2023.

Staff | Reuters

Nearly 72 million people across the country were under extreme heat warnings Monday morning, the National Weather Service said said.

With the seasonal solstice happening Thursday amid a weeklong heat wave expected for the East Coast and Midwest, summer 2024 is shaping up to be hot.

Extreme heat warnings were in effect for Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City and Albany, New York.

Models show the heat could last through Friday and beyond.

“The duration of this heat wave is remarkable and may be the longest in decades for some locations,” the federal government said This is reported by the weather forecast center.

A high-pressure system called an upper ridge over the Ohio Valley is spreading across the Midwest and East Coast and will produce clear skies, warm, stable air and record temperatures in the 1990s and beyond, forecasters say.

According to the weather service, some areas will experience temperatures as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Forecasters say temperatures in many areas will be as much as 25 degrees above normal under the summer system.

The weather service office in Phoenix said it reached 112 degrees there on Sunday, 7 degrees above average and not far below the daily record of 115.

The Nevada Division of Emergency Management warned people don't rely on fans to stay cool and seek out air-conditioned places like libraries and malls, or the cooling centers that have opened in the Southwest in recent weeks.

New temperature records could be set from the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes into the northern mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the weather service said.

The weather bureau for Pittsburgh said it “could be the most impactful heat wave of the 21st century.”

Buffalo Public Schools said in a statement that it was implementing half days for four of the five days of the week. According to the schedule, 8th grade through 8th grade students can go home by the end of lunch.

Nights will likely provide some relief, with low temperatures in that quarter of the country dropping into the 60s and 70s, forecasters said.

On the northwest side of the heat, flash flooding could occur in the Dakotas and Minnesota on Monday, forecasters said. On the Southwest Side, rain was expected from the Gulf of Mexico in parts of Texas and Louisiana, possibly through Wednesday, they said.

The weather service is also watching for any tropical storms developing in the Gulf, the report said.

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