Dangerous heat wave to broil northeastern US this weekend through July 4th holiday

A significant heat wave will build and air quality will deteriorate over the northeastern United States this weekend and it is likely to last into July Fourth.

In the northern part of the nation, a heat wave is defined as three days in a row with high temperatures at or above 90 F.

There is the potential for many locations to have highs well in the 90s over a three- to five-day stretch.

Static Heat Wave NE

"While heat waves are common around Independence Day, this pattern could bring the hottest early July weather for such a broad area of the Northeast since 2012," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

Pools, beaches, fans and air conditioners will be abuzz with activity as the major summer holiday approaches. Ice cream trucks and parlors are likely to do a brisk business.

"Energy demands will be high, especially in households around the region with many people off on vacation and out of the office starting this weekend," Duffey said.

Static Peak of the Heat

Businesses that are shut down next week may want to help conserve energy and reduce the risk of a brownout, which is a drop in voltage caused by high electricity demand. Thermostats can be set to a higher temperature when employees are not on duty.

Daily record high temperatures are generally in the upper 90s to lower 100s this time of the year, so many records may remain in tact with this heat wave in the U.S. However, portions of southern Canada may challenge record highs.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will climb above 100 for a few hours most days with the worst conditions in the urban areas.

The RealFeel Temperature factors in many more parameters than the temperature and humidity with sun intensity being one.

The sun is about as strong as it gets this time of the year. The summer solstice, when the sun's rays were most intense, was on June 21.

"It looks like temperatures will throttle up first, then the humidity will build later on," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Static Hot Air Arrival

"The heat will first build over the Midwest, next southern Ontario and the central Appalachians and finally the coastal Northeast," Anderson said. "Humidity levels will then build a day or two into the heat."

Static Humid Air Arrival

Even though it's supposed to be hot in the summer, this can be dangerous

The air may stagnate over much of the region, including the major Interstate 95 cities from Richmond, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

"A lack of strong surface winds may result in a buildup of pollutants, such as ozone, and cause poor air quality in general," Anderson said.

People with respiratory problems are urged to stay in an air-conditioned environment. Homeowners who do not have air conditioning may want to set up an area in a cool basement to spend time out of the heat.

There will be an elevated risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke during the upcoming weather pattern.

Urban areas can become unbearable without air conditioning. Once the sun heats the brick, concrete and pavement up these surfaces will give off the heat through the night. Urban cooling stations will be needed where practically no relief from the heat is likely.

People are urged to drink plenty of liquids and limit their intake of alcohol in weather patterns such as these. Alcohol can accelerate dehydration.

Avoid prolonged strenuous physical activity, especially during the heat of the day from late morning through the afternoon. For those who feel the need to exercise or must do manual labor, the early mornings, evenings and nights are best.

Be sure to check on the elderly and young children on a regular basis.

Related: See severe weather across the country from earlier this year: 

21 PHOTOS
Severe spring weather across the U.S. in 2018
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Severe spring weather across the U.S. in 2018
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NEW YORK, USA - MAY 12: Rain clouds are seen over between Lower Manhattan and Jersey City in New York, United States on May 12, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 12: Members of the Philadelphia Phillies ground crew roll out the tarp to cover the field due to an incoming storm before the start of a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 12, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
HOBOKEN, NJ - MAY 10: Lightning strikes New York City next to Hudson Yards on May 10, 2018 as seen from Hoboken, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - MAY 12: Rain clouds are seen over Lower Manhattan in New York, United States on May 12, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 2: Snow covered buildings are seen in Brooklyn borough of New York, United States on April 2, 2018. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - MARCH 21: A woman stands with her umbrella during a late season snowstorm in Time Square, Manhattan in New York. The fourth nor'easter in three weeks hit the city on March 21, 2018 in New York, United States. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2018: People carrying ski gears walk past the Reflecting Pool in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 21, 2018. A late-season nor'easter, the fourth of its kind in three weeks, is targeting the northeast United States on Wednesday, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the region. Washington, which is already snow-covered, is expected to see up to 6 inches of snow, as some models suggesting much high totals for the capital. Federal offices are closed for the snowstorm as the White House announced early Wednesday that all public events for the day were cancelled. (Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, March 22, 2018 : Photo taken on March 21, 2018 shows the Statue of Liberty seen in the snow storm in New York, the United States. Thousands of flights were canceled and public schools were closed as the fourth snow storm in three weeks began hitting New York City and its neighboring areas on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Li Muzi via Getty Images)
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Little chance of storms during first part of heat wave

Most locations will be free of rain this weekend, following a brief uptick in storms this Wednesday and Thursday.

However, during early next week, the risk of spotty thunderstorms will increase with building humidity.

The first storms are likely to fire over the Great Lakes, then the central Appalachians early next week.

Along the I-95 corridor, spotty thunderstorms are possible on July Fourth.

Best weather to be at the beach

For those heading to the Atlantic beaches, the entire time from Saturday through Wednesday may be free of rain from Virginia to southern Maine.

"The coolest spots in this pattern are likely to be right on the beach, due to a weak sea breeze, rather than over the mountains," Anderson said.

Ocean water temperatures range from near 60 along the southern Maine coast to withing a few degrees of 70 along the New Jersey beaches to near 80 at the Virginia capes.

Remember to always swim with a buddy to increase your chance of prompt medical treatment following cold water shock.

Motorists are encouraged to reduce their speed on the highway and keep tires properly inflated to lower the risk of a blowout during extreme heat.

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