Over 100 million Americans woke up to heat advisories and excessive heat warnings Wednesday as a deadly heat wave gripped the entire Midwest region, stretching from Minneapolis-Saint Paul down to the Gulf of Mexico.
The heat wave blankets a significant portion of the country, impacting 21 states, including the entire Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, along with many of our largest cities. Actual temperatures, as well as "feels like" temperatures, are soaring well into triple digits.
Temperatures across the Great Plains states of Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming are a staggering 20 degrees above the usual norms.
In Lawrence, Kansas, for instance, the heat index reached a scorching 134 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday. This heat wave is making an already hot summer worse. In the last 30 days, the U.S. has witnessed over 8,500 new heat records being set, with another 100 likely to be broken this week.
Amid an excessive heat warning, firefighters in Kansas City, Missouri, have been evacuating residents from a nursing home due to a broken air conditioning system, and in Omaha, Nebraska, a 1-year-old girl lost her life after being left in a daycare van for six hours. The driver of the van is now facing felony charges.
The National Weather Service satellite shows a high-pressure dome, often referred to as a "hot pocket," currently centered over the central part of the country. It's forecast to extend into the Southeast Thursday, leading to severe weather alerts in those regions.
The red areas indicate excessive heat warnings, where dangerously high triple-digit "feels like" temperatures are expected Wednesday, it extends from southern Minnesota down to southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.
The orange areas represent heat advisories. These orange alerts are located in northern South Dakota, central Nebraska, Dallas, middle Tennessee, central Alabama and southwest Georgia.
Throughout the Midwest, the heat is reaching dangerous levels. Some of the highest "feels like" heat indexes include 110 in Chicago and Little Rock, 115 in St. Louis and Jackson, Mississippi, and a scorching 118 in New Orleans.
This summer is on course to be the hottest ever recorded. Just last month, we experienced the hottest month on record, and this heat wave is predicted to persist until the end of the week.
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