A massive heat wave is poised to envelop the US from coast to coast next week

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Expect Severe Weather Around Great Lakes

Following on the heels of the hottest June in the history of the lower 48 states, an extended, intense and widespread heat wave is likely to develop next week.

The heat wave will start in the Plains states and parts of the intermountain West, eventually spreading to the West Coast, South and Midwest by Thursday, July 21. The heat wave is also likely to seep northward into southern Alberta and Ontario.

Cities like Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Fargo and eventually New York City and Washington, D.C. may experience sizzling heat and stifling humidity by the end of the week.

SEE ALSO: Earth's hot streak continues with warmest May since at least 1880

During the height of the heat wave, a majority of the contiguous U.S. is likely to see high temperatures well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 32 degrees Celsius. There will also be areas that will see temperatures climb into the 100s Fahrenheit, or above 38 degrees Celsius.

Another hazard may also be found along the northern fringe of the heat dome, from southern Canada across the northern Great Lakes states and into New England. Atmospheric disturbances tend to ripple across the outer edges of such weather patterns, triggering large complexes of severe thunderstorms.

Image: Noaa

While this is an extended range forecast with details that are subject to change, the warning signs for a major heat wave are present, and have been for several days, in several of the main computer models used to help predict the weather.

Both the European, or ECMWF, and the GFS models are showing the extreme heat developing early in the week and growing more intense and widespread as the week goes on.

One parameter meteorologists look at to judge the severity of a hot or cold streak is the height of a given pressure surface in the atmosphere.

With hot air masses, a particular pressure surface will be found higher in the atmosphere, since hot air rises and causes a bulge to develop that pushes pressure surfaces above where they would normally be located.

On the other hand, cold air masses feature below average heights.

Both the European and GFS models, among others, are depicting the height of the 500 millibar pressure surface, which is normally located around 5,000 meters, or 18,000 feet, to be at or above 6,000 meters, or 19,685 feet.

This is a rare event that is an indication that this event may be unusually severe.

Heat waves such as this one, which will also involve high humidity, due to a flow of air that will pump Gulf of Mexico moisture northward into the Plains, have the potential to cause heat-related injuries and fatalities.

One of the most confident conclusions in climate science is that heat waves are becoming more intense and more common as the world warms in response to increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the air.

Skewed records

Another trend that is happening as the world warms is that record highs are outpacing record lows by an ever-growing margin.

For example, during June, there were more than seven times as many warm temperature records than there were cold temperature records in the U.S.

More specifically, there were 5,768 record high temperatures set or tied during the month, compared to just 411 record lows during the same period.

The July heat wave will ensure that this records gap either merely continues, or, more likely, grows much wider. Unlike the June heat, though, this event is not likely to peak across the Southwest, but rather across the Central states and Midwest.

Over longer periods of time, the record highs to lows ratio is becoming more skewed in favor of warm temperature records, reflecting the increase in average temperatures that raises the odds of warm records.

If global average surface temperatures were not going up, the ratio between record highs to lows would be expected to be closer to 1-to-1.

Related: Also see past severe weather across the globe:

25 PHOTOS
Severe winter weather across the globe
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Severe winter weather across the globe
Citizens take 'selfies' on the seafront at the Corniche, or waterfront promenade, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Temperatures in Beirut took a dip reaching 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Spectators attend the ladies 12,5 kilometer mass start competition at the Biathlon World Cup during heavy snow fall on January 16, 2016 in Ruhpolding, southern Germany. Czech Gabriela Soukalova won the competition, German Franziska Hildebrand placed second and German Laura Dahlmeier placed third. / AFP / Christof STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Two ice breakers move along the frozen Moskva River with the Kremlin in the background during snowfall in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Moscow was hit by a heavy snowfall Tuesday, which led to the cancellation of dozens of flights at the city airports as temperatures dipped to -10 C (14 F) in Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A man speaks on mobile phone as he stands in the park as snow falls in the Belarus capital Minsk, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Winter weather with snow continues to prevail in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A tourist boat with restaurant aboard, especially designed for winter rivers, cruises the frozen Moskva River in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. Temperatures dipped to -18 C (-0,4 F) in Moscow and -20 C (-4 F) in surrounding regions. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Snow covers the landscape near Braunschweig, central Germany, on January 18, 2016. / AFP / dpa / Julian Stratenschulte / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images)
CAPTION ADDS THE DATE - Pedestrians walk along the banks of the Neris river as temperatures dipped to -22 degrees Celsius (-7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in Vilnius, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
TOPSHOT - A man walks at the Poklonnaya Gora War Memorial Park after heavy snowfall in Moscow on January 13, 2016. AFP PHOTO / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV / AFP / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV (Photo credit should read DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
HAKKARI, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: A man clears snow off his parked car in Hakkari, Turkey on January 1, 2016. Snow has covered parts of Hakkari overnight, causing major road closures as wild weather continues across the city. (Photo by Gokhan Gucukluoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HAKKARI, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: A man pulls his vehicle during the snowfall in Hakkari, Turkey on January 1, 2016. Snow has covered parts of Hakkari overnight, causing major road closures as wild weather continues across the city. (Photo by Gokhan Gucukluoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Kurdish boy protects himself against the cold as heavy snow fall hits the city of Sirnak, southeastern Turkey, on January 1, 2016. Tensions are running high throughout Turkey's restive southeast as security forces impose curfews in several towns including Cizre in a bid to root out Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels from urban centres. / AFP / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - JANUARY 13: A man carries straws for sheeps People with a donkey carry straws for sheeps after snowfall during the winter season at Caldiran town in Van, eastern province of Turkey, on January 13, 2016. (Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A man walks in the park as snow falls in the Belarus capital Minsk, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Winter weather with snow continues to prevail in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
TOPSHOT - A woman takes a walk at river Spree on a cold winter day in Berlin on January 6, 2016. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
ERZURUM, TURKEY - JANUARY 14: People walk down on a snow-covered street in Turkey's eastern province Erzurum, on January 14, 2016. (Photo by Yunus Okur/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WHITBY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Snow covered sheep stand on moorland after snowfall over night on January 14, 2016 in Whitby, England. Overnight snowfall in North Yorkshire and areas of Cleveland caused disruption in some areas this morning as temperatures continue to drop. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - JANUARY 13: A man carries straws for sheeps People with a donkey carry straws for sheeps after snowfall during the winter season at Caldiran town in Van, eastern province of Turkey, on January 13, 2016. (Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 12: Snowstorm in Moscow brings traffic to a standstill on January 12, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. A strong atmospheric front swept through Moscow bringing a large amount of snow to the city. (Photo by Kristina Kormilitsyna/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
ALTAY, CHINA - JANUARY 12: (CHINA OUT) Icicles hang down from the eaves of a row of houses, which formed when snow melted in the daytime and freezed overnight on January 12, 2016 in Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Affected by El Nino Phenomenon, Altay Prefecture seems to be a warm winter this year compared with previous winters. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
A woman sweeps away the snow on her car on January 12, 2016, in Minsk, as snow cyclone Daniella hits Belarus. / AFP / MAXIM MALINOVSKY (Photo credit should read MAXIM MALINOVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman turns off her umbrella during a walk in a snow-covered park on January 12, 2016, in Minsk, as the Daniella snow cyclone hits Belarus, according to local media. / AFP / SERGEI GAPON (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images)
JILIN, CHINA - JANUARY 10: (CHINA OUT) Tourists come to look at the rime scenery on an island along the Songhua River on January 10, 2016 in Jilin City, Jilin Province of China. The first rime in 2016 attracted visitors in Jilin. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Pupils of Navy cadet classes walk in snow in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Low temperatures caused two-days of snowfall in St. Petersburg. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Teenagers play on the snow covered frozen lake on the outskirts of Novogrudok, 150 kilometers (93 miles) west of Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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