Deadly Heat Wave from the Plains and Midwest to East into This Weekend
- Hot temperatures are spreading from the Plains to the East Coast.
- The heat index will rise to dangerous levels in parts of those regions.
- This level of heat could become deadly, especially in large metro areas.
- Widespread daily record highs are unlikely, but a few could be set, particularly in the Northeast
- Relief from the intense heat will arrive early next week.
A heatwave is expanding from the Plains and Midwest and will linger in the East through this weekend, bringing many cities their hottest temperatures so far this summer and creating dangerous heat indices.
The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings, watches and heat advisories in the Plains, Midwest and much of the East to warn residents of the dangerously hot conditions over the next few days.
Excessive heat warnings are issued when afternoon heat indices are expected to be dangerous, if not deadly, for those with prolonged exposure to the heat. Overnight temperatures may not drop far enough to bring relief from the heat, particularly in larger cities, which tend to “hold in” heat more than rural areas.
Temperatures ranging from the mid-90s to near 100 degrees are likely to encompass much of the central and eastern states into the weekend.
When combined with dew points into the 70s, this will produce heat indices well over 100 degrees – a combination of heat and humidity that could be dangerous for those spending too much time outdoors. A few spots, like Washington, D.C., may see heat indices over 110 degrees this weekend.
Several cities are likely to see their hottest temperatures so far this summer, including Chicago, Detroit, New York City and Washington, D.C.
We’re not forecasting widespread record-high temperatures. Since we’re in what is typically the hottest time of the year, the benchmarks for setting heat records are very high.
Friday and Saturday will have the best shot at setting several record highs from the Front Range of the Rockies into the Northeast.
Hartford and Philadelphia may flirt with their first official 100-degree temperatures since July 2012 this weekend. Washington, D.C., may also hit the century mark for the first time since August 2016.
Evening and nighttime temperatures won’t be very cool, with lows in the mid- or upper 70s common in larger cities from the Midwest to the East.
Urban centers, like Chicago, St. Louis, and New York City, may only drop down to 80 degrees overnight, meaning there will be no time for residents to cool off.
Friday morning, both Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, failed to dip below 80 degrees. If Rockford fails to dip below 80 degrees before midnight Friday night, they would tie their all-time hottest daily low temperature, set on August 6, 1918.
These stuffy overnight low temperatures are expected to set dozens of daily record-warm lows through Sunday morning in a number of cities, according to the National Weather Service.
Extreme heat claimed 108 lives in the U.S. in 2018, more than any other weather phenomenon, including hurricanes Florence and Michael, tornadoes, flooding or lightning.
Reduce your time outdoors during the hottest time of day, stay hydrated and check on a friend, relative or neighbor who may not have air conditioning.
Cooler Temperatures Arrive Next Week
The good news is that this heatwave will abate early next week as the weather pattern reconfigures itself once again.
A southward plunge of the jet stream will spread from the upper Midwest on Sunday to the East Coast by Monday. This will usher in cooler, drier air to much of the Plains, Midwest, and East, dropping temperatures near or even below average for late July. This could mean highs in the low- to mid-80s across those regions, with temperatures dropping into the 60s or lower overnight.