Heat Wave to Affect Tens of Millions of Americans This Week, Weather Agency Warns
Heat Wave to Affect Tens of Millions of Americans This Week, Weather Agency Warns

By Jack Phillips

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued heat advisories and excessive heat warnings for a swath of the U.S. East Coast and Midwest for June 18, while the weather agency separately warned that the temperatures will only increase as the week progresses.

“Record-breaking heat is forecast to expand from the Midwest and Great Lakes to the Northeast this week, potentially lingering through early next week,” the NWS wrote in a statement posted on social media.

A map posted by the NWS and other weather services suggest that tens of millions of Americans across more than a dozen states will see high temperatures. Major cities including Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Boston, and Albany, New York, could see “extreme” temperatures, according to the agency.

“The duration of this heat wave is notable and potentially the longest experienced in decades for some locations,” the NWS continued.

The federal weather agency also estimated more than 72 million people were under “heat alerts“ on June 17. A day prior, more than 60 million were under similar weather advisories, according to a NWS website.

“We have already seen some pretty significantly high temperatures in our area,” said Ted Whittock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix. “We are recommending that everyone reduce their time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., stay hydrated, and wear light, looser fitting clothing.”

Through June 22, the high heat will move east from the Ohio River Valley area to the Northeast United States, the agency said. Some places will see 105 degree F temperatures in the day, and they will only drop to the mid-70s at night.

Meanwhile, independent forecaster Ryan Maue noted that the excess temperatures across the United States is the result of a “mega heat dome” that will “be at near historical intensity centered upon Pennsylvania.”

At least one municipality declared an emergency because of the anticipated heat wave. Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, on June 16 activated the city’s “extended heat emergency plan” through June 21, advising residents to “stay cool, check in on seniors and other vulnerable neighbors, and to call the shelter hotline for unsheltered residents in need” of transportation to one of the city’s “cooling centers.”

Heat Stroke Symptoms

Health officials say that it’s important to know the symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, which includes dry reddish skin, headaches, chills, delirium, convulsions, seizures, slurred speech, and coma.

“Onset of heatstroke can be rapid; a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes,” according to the D.C. mayor’s office. “If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing a heat-related illness, call 911.”

Other Weather Extremes

While much of the country swelters, late-season snow was forecast for the northern Rockies on June 18. Parts of Montana and north-central Idaho were under a winter storm warning, with as much as 6 inches of heavy, wet snow expected in the mountains around Missoula, Montana.

As much as 20 inches was predicted for higher elevations around Glacier National Park.

The intense flooding from heavy rains continued to dissipate in southern Florida, where some areas in and around Miami and Fort Lauderdale were left underwater in recent days as storms dumped up to 20 inches.

That unnamed storm system coincided with the early start of hurricane season, which this year is forecast by private and federal weather officials to be a relatively active one.

On June 17, the National Hurricane Center noted that a storm system north of the Yucatan Peninsula, in Mexico, has a 70 percent chance of developing into either a hurricane or a tropical storm.

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