Triple-digit heat will surge into the central U.S. next week, dominating areas from Texas to Minnesota.
"Heat will build to dangerous levels and bring the highest temperatures of the summer so far to many areas of the central United States later next week," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
The heat wave will be dangerous and could even be life-threatening if proper precautions are not taken. Pets, the elderly, children and anyone with respiratory or cardiovascular disease are most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.
Even healthy individuals who physically exert themselves and fail to take precautions in the upcoming conditions could succumb to dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Temperatures will climb well into the 90s F with high humidity across North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky on multiple days.
Highs of 100 or higher are in store from Texas and Louisiana to South Dakota and Iowa during one or more days from next Wednesday to next Sunday.
The highest temperatures of the summer yet and the first 100-degree readings are in store for locations such as Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska, Huron, South Dakota; Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Nashville; Oklahoma City; St. Louis; and Dallas.
AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will average 5-10 degrees higher than the actual temperature and could be 10-20 degrees higher in some cases, especially during the midday and afternoon hours. This means that how warm it really feels outside could range between 115 and 120 in some locations for a time.
The RealFeel Temperature factors in many weather variables, when compared to the heat index, which takes into consideration only the temperature and humidity.
People should seek relief from the heat by spending time in an air-conditioned environment. If air conditioning is not available, a fan and cool showers or baths can provide some relief.
Those who must work in the heat should increase their intake of water and take breaks in the shade as much as possible.
Where hard manual labor is necessary, consider doing the task during the early mornings or during the evening in order to avoid the peak heat of the day.
Remember never to leave children or pets unattended in vehicles. Temperatures inside a vehicle, even with windows partially down, can reach lethal levels in a matter of minutes.
On average, 130 people die each year in the U.S. due to heat-related issues, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). More people die each year from heat than cold waves, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or hurricanes.
On a positive note, the weather pattern will offer an excellent opportunity to hit swimming holes, lakes or pools.
While occasional thunderstorms will affect portions of the northern Plains, Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley, most areas will be free of rain. AccuWeather MinuteCast® can be of short-term assistance for planning outdoor activities.
"Later next weekend into the end of July, the core of the heat will settle westward toward the Rockies," Pastelok said.
Before the end of July, temperatures will throttle back, and thunderstorms may become more frequent in parts of the region.
"However, even with another pattern shift later in the month, temperatures may still average above normal over much of the Plains and part of the Midwest," Pastelok said.