Many areas from the Plains to the Ohio Valley will experience a long-duration and dangerous late-summer heat wave next week under blazing sunshine.
The heat will be hitting at a time when many kids are heading back to school and football season is beginning. It will also offer opportunities to get in some late-season swimming.
While lengthening nights during August will bring brief relief, heat can still build up to dangerous levels in urban areas during the afternoon and evening hours.
Poor air quality will be a concern at times, especially in the larger cities. Folks with respiratory problems should avoid being outside of an air-conditioned environment for long periods of time during the heat wave.
In some locations, temperatures will challenge daily record highs. Many of the records have been on the books since the late 1800s.
Temperatures are forecast to reach the 90s over a broad area, including Denver, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Ark., Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
Temperatures are forecast to rise well into the 80s in Chicago as early as Sunday, when the Life Time Triathlon will be taking place.
Next week, temperatures could be reaching 100 degrees from parts of Nebraska and Kansas to Iowa and Missouri. Cities that could experience triple-digit readings on more than one day include St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Neb., Dallas, Des Moines, Iowa, Pierre, S.D., and Bismarck, N.D.
For some locations, the heat could last right through the Labor Day Weekend.
The heat wave will bring some good and bad news for crops in the area, such as corn and soybeans.
The higher temperatures this coming week will speed up maturity of the crops, which had been delayed by lower temperatures and abnormally wet conditions earlier this summer. The dry weather will also aid in harvesting of some crops.
However, in some cases, the heat may be so extreme that it stresses crops, especially in areas where there has been little or no rain in recent weeks.
The area of abnormally dry to moderate drought was expanding during August in parts of eastern Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Thunderstorms will fire on the rim of the massive area of heat. Areas from near the Canada border over the Plains to parts of the Great Lakes are most likely to experience several rounds of storms. However, some of these storms could be severe with damaging winds and flash flooding.
The circulation around the massive area of high pressure will also drive a great deal of moisture into the Southwestern states from the tropics. Both beneficial rain and disastrous flash flooding are possible in portions of Arizona, Southern California, Utah and Nevada in particular.