Sweltering summer heat wave to take aim at Midwest into Sunday

A dangerous heat wave, currently building, will reach its peak in the Midwest on Friday and Saturday but will continue in some areas through the weekend.

While the northeastern United States is bracing for some of the longest hot weather of the year so far this weekend into next week, the wave of heat will hit and peak sooner over the Midwest.

Showers and locally severe thunderstorms that have riddled much of the region in recent days will shift away over the rest of this week. The last batch of torrential downpours and locally severe storms will focus over the lower Great Lakes and Ohio and Tennessee valleys into Wednesday night.

Temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit will be experienced over parts of the central and southern Plains into Friday.

Static NC Thursday
Static NC Thursday

The stage is set for 90-degree temperatures to build northeastward from the middle Mississippi Valley at midweek to much of the Midwest spanning Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

While the evaporation of moisture from the ground due to the relentless downpours of late will limit maximum temperatures somewhat, the moisture in the air will result in oppressive humidity levels along with the heat.

Static Midwest Peak heat
Static Midwest Peak heat

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will surge to between 95 and 110 over a broad area for several hours during the midday and afternoon.

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.

In urban areas of the major cities, such as Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and Cincinnati, cooling stations will be needed. The vast expanse of concrete and pavement will give off heat at night and make sleeping difficult without air conditioning.

People who must partake in manual labor or feel the urge to exercise should try to do so when temperatures are lowest, such as the early morning, evening and overnight hours.

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

Be sure to check on the elderly, young children and pets on a regular basis. If your pet cannot be brought indoors to a cool place, make sure they have a shady area and plenty of fresh water.

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.

The heat wave is projected to break down from northwest to southeast as a swath of thunderstorms advances from the northern Plains later this weekend into early next week. As a result, it should not be as oppressive by the Fourth of July over the region.

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However, long-lasting cool air and low humidity are not foreseen.

"In the heart of the Midwest, temperatures are likely to remain well above average through much of the first half of July," according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido.

For the upper Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, instead of highs in the middle 90s, highs may be in the upper 80s to lower 90s, while 100-degree heat holds on or fights back over the central and southern Plains.

"The dog days of summer are setting in, perhaps a little ahead of schedule," Vido said.

The dog days of summer are typically from July 3 to Aug. 11 in the U.S., according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.