Temperatures will soar to dangerous levels across a portion of the central United States throughout the week.
While heat has been no stranger in the central Plains this summer, the latest surge of hot air could bring the highest temperatures so far this season to some locations.
The length of the heat wave could put a strain on residents and animals.
“The scorching heat wave is forecast to last the longest and bring the hottest air from Nebraska to Oklahoma, with temperatures in most locations easily soaring past the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark,” Elliott said.
St. Louis will reach the century mark for multiple days during the second half of the week.
Kansas City will come close to hitting this mark by Friday. The last time the Kansas City International Airport recorded a temperature of 100 was on Sept. 8, 2013.
High temperatures will average 5 to 10 degrees above normal midsummer levels in places such as Dodge City and Wichita, Kansas; Oklahoma City; and Omaha, Nebraska, by late week.
Normal temperatures for late July range from the middle 90s to the middle 80s F from south to north across the region.
“There will be little relief from the heat at night, as temperatures in the heart of the Plains may only briefly fall below the 80-degree mark during the early morning hours,” Elliott said.
Humidity will not be excessive, but strong sunshine will push AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures several degrees higher than actual temperatures.
Meanwhile, rounds of intense thunderstorms and flooding downpours will ride the periphery of building heat from the Dakotas to the lower Great Lakes.
The heat will likely fall short of record levels, but that should not discourage those traveling, visiting or living across the region to take precautionary measures.
“The extreme heat can heighten the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially for more sensitive groups such as the elderly and young children,” Elliott said.
Try to exercise outdoors or walk pets during the early morning and evening hours when the heat has not reached its peak. Drink plenty of water, wear loose and light-colored clothing and take frequent breaks in the shade if working outside.
Car interiors, pavement and playground equipment will turn hot enough to cause a serious burn in the hot sunshine. Before exiting a vehicle, always check twice to ensure children or pets are not left in a closed car and do not fall victim to the heat.
The extreme heat will begin to ease early next week as a system drops southward, but another bout of downright hot weather is expected to round out July, according to Elliott.