Extremely Dangerous Heat Wave Will Impact 200 Million in the US This Weekend

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It is currently 93 degrees in my neck of the woods, and we are being warned that with the heat index, daily temperatures could warm up to 110 degrees. We are under an “excessive heat warning” through Saturday evening.

If you live in the Central or Eastern US, chances are you are also under a dangerous heat wave warning.

AccuWeather estimates that more than 87 million Americans live in an area where a daily record-high temperature could be set on Saturday, and says more than 200 million in the eastern two-thirds of the nation will swelter in very hot and humid conditions into this weekend.

Here’s what you need to know about this heat wave.

As of the time of this writing, the National Weather Service’s latest update (which is valid through Sunday, July 21) stated the following:

…A dangerous heat wave is building in the central and eastern U.S…. …Severe weather and flash flooding are both possible for the Upper Midwest this evening… An upper-level ridge is building over the southeastern U.S., setting the stage for what will be a miserably hot and humid weekend for millions of Americans.

The sprawling area of high pressure will drive hot and humid air north and east from the Gulf through the Northeast. Daytime temperatures will soar into and through the 90s from the Plains eastward, and overnight minimums in the 70s and 80s will provide little relief. Heat Advisories, Excessive Heat Watches, and Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for the Plains, Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, and the Eastern Seaboard.

Dozens of record high minimum temperatures are forecast to be set across the eastern U.S., and a handful of record high maximum temperatures will be challenged. The heatwave is expected to persist through the weekend across the east, but a cold front ushering in cooler air will march across the U.S. as an upper-level trough begins to build near Hudson Bay.

Scattered thunderstorms are expected along fronts moving through the north-central U.S., a few of which could be severe and produce heavy rainfall. Slight Risks of both severe weather and excessive rainfall are in place this evening for parts of the Great Lakes region, with more storms possible across the Upper Midwest tomorrow. (source)

Heavy rain is expected this weekend as well.

While thunderstorms can provide some relief from the sweltering heat and can prevent temperatures from rising, they also can bring flooding…which could be disastrous for some parts of the US. The possibility of additional flooding in the Midwest is troubling, considering the region has already been getting hit with massive, damaging floods since March. Heavy flooding has impacted important agricultural states, including Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, and more rain could be devasting for the region – and our food supply.

Unfortunately, those in impacted areas should not expect to get much relief at night. When nighttime temperatures remain above 80 degrees, heat can build at a faster pace the next day. This can cause nighttime humidity levels to be significantly higher than those in the afternoon.

Heat kills more people on an annual basis than any other weather-related factor.

When it is hot outside, perspiration fails to evaporate quickly and body temperature can climb significantly. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can result.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Possible muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

First Aid for heat exhaustion includes:

  • Move person to a cooler environment
  • Lay the person down and loosen clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of the body as possible
  • Fan or move victim to an air-conditioned room
  • Offer sips of water
  • If the person vomits more than once, seek immediate medical attention

Symptoms of heat stroke include the following:

  • Altered mental state
  • One or more of the following symptoms: throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
  • Body temperature above 103°F
  • Hot, red, dry, or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Faints, loses consciousness

If you suspect heat stroke, call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately, as delaying treatment can be fatal. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency.

  • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment.
  • Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or bath.
  • Use a fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s. A fan can make you hotter at higher temperatures.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

Here’s how to stay safe in extremely hot weather.

Until temperatures cool down a bit, strenuous physical exercise and manual labor should be avoided or limited if possible. At least try to avoid them during the hottest part of the day. Frequent breaks from the heat are also highly recommended.

Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, especially while outdoors or in places that do not have air conditioning. Seek shelter in cool places.

Check on young children and the elderly frequently, as they are at heightened risk of heat-related illness.

Avoid walking pets and barefoot on paved and concrete areas during the late morning and afternoon hours as these surfaces can become hot enough to cause severe burns to paws and feet.

Do not leave children, elderly or disabled people, or pets in cars – even for a few minutes (and even if the windows are open). According to the National Weather Service,

Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia, which occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day with temperatures in the 70s. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The younger the child the more severe the effects because their bodies have not developed the ability to efficiently regulate its internal temperature. (source)

When it is 90 degrees outside, a car’s interior can heat to 109 degrees within 10 minutes – and can reach 124 degrees within 30 minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

The power grid can go down during heat waves.

As Daisy Luther explained in Power Grid Could Buckle During Extreme Heat Wave: Here’s How to Keep Cool, the risk of demand outstripping supply is very real during heat waves.

It seems like we’re seeing more and more power outages this summer for “no reason.”

Daisy’s book Be Ready for Anything gives you a more thorough overview of surviving a summer power outage. As far as long-term power outages are concerned, her recommendations are decidedly low-tech. The Blackout Book, which you can get immediately in PDF format, also contains tips on how to survive a hot weather power outage.

If your power goes out, or you do not have air conditioning, here are two additional resources that can help you find ways to stay cool:

The Cheapskate’s Guide to Surviving without Air Conditioning

8 Hot Weather Cooking Tips to Help You Keep Your Cool

How do you keep your cool?

Do you live in an area that is experiencing a heat wave? What are some techniques that you use to keep cool in hot weather? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Stay cool!

About the Author

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

Picture of Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

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  • Got up early, and out in the fields to tend to the live stock before the heat really kicks in.
    Made sure their water buckets/troughs were topped off.
    While it was very warm, and humid, there was a slight breeze, and overcast.
    If the sun was out, it would of been really brutal.

    • Same activity here. Plus make sure the hounds have water tubs to wet their paws (or flop down in). I remember seeing a horse my husband once had, actually stepping his front legs into the big rubber water tub!

  • [Smug smile.]

    Pat – in northern Maine, where the temperature may reach the dizzying height of 90F tomorrow. Yes, I know I will not be smiling in January when blizzards can drop four feet of white fluffy stuff on us. You need to pick your hazards…And so we did when we moved here in 2010. We chose right for us.

    • Hi Pat……I have an even smugger smile…I live on Vancouver Island and today it got up to 63……GASP I know….almost intolerable. The winters are about the same, not too hot, not too cold, but just right. I grew up in the interior of BC where it can get up to 115 and down to 90ish at night. Lived here 10 years and I’m still not used to this meh weather.

  • We’re lucky, in that our basement stays very cool and does not get much daylight, let alone sunlight. In a worst case scenario, we could hunker down in the basement. We’re also lucky, in that where we live (WV Eastern Panhandle,) the power never seems to stay out for long. They’re really on top of it here.

  • As a kid, we spent a lot of summer in the basement. Unfortunately, we don’t have a basement now. Where I live, there is a Good Samaritan law in place so one can break a car window to rescue a child or animal. Caveat is, you need to call 911 first.

  • I grew up around numerous civil war plantations in the Deep South, and used to tour them. I now think about how they stayed cool back then, and what I learned from visiting those old mansions. A few things the plantations had in common with the older southern houses of the “common folk” (for example, many older, smaller houses in New Orleans) is they all have numerous floor-to-ceiling windows that completely opened up so one could walk through them (like a doorway), they could open doors and windows to create cross drafts in the interior of the home, they had porches (some even had screened-in porches for sleeping), and most of the cooking was done in a separate area/building away from the house. I think we can learn so much from looking at the history of how those, in our local areas, made it before having a/c, etc., and adapting those lessons to our modern lifestyle.

  • If you’re walking around outside during the hottest part of the day with the sun beating down …

    use an umbrella.

  • I’m in NYC and am avoiding elevators and subways this weekend lest i get stuck during a blackout. My window A/C broke but i have been doing fine following the method Daisy described in an article. I’m in a corner apartment with south and west windows. I run box window fans at nite to bring in the cool(er) air. At 10am i button up the apartment. Shut the windows and close the thermal curtains (i don’t have blinds) till after sunset. Put the box fans on floor and table and run them all day. Admitedly it gets a bit stuffy in here, but stays cool. On my west windows i use a silver windshield cover (for RVs) that fits well, looks nice and works well. So the west windows are covered with the windshield cover plus thermal curtains. My goal is to keep the bedroom as cool as possible for sleeping. This weekend will be the acid test. If there’s a blackout, it would be tougher without the fans, but do-able.

    • Just to clarify, this weekend, with the 100+ heat wave, i’m spending the day in libraries or museums etc for the air conditioning. Not going to stay inside my apt during the heat of the day.

  • Why is it considered extremely dangerous? Is it because they aren’t used to high temps out there? We get weeks of temps over 110 where it doesn’t cool at night in California. I can’t wait to move to Maine when we retire.

  • Daisy, I can’t add to the comments about coping with the heat; they all are good. What I do in anticipation of a temporary power outage, is religiously keep all cell phones and laptops fully charged, meaning bump them up every 2 hours or so. Cook a few meals in advance. Hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, pasta, meatballs and instant coffee are easy and go a long way. Freeze a few jugs of water in your freezer, get them rock solid, and in a power outage, transfer them to your refrigerator to gain some cooling. If you have the money, buy a battery booster and a battery-operated fan. Lastly, nag your elected officials about giving a little less priority to EBT and a lot more to infrastructure and the vulnerability of our grid. A good primer on that is the Michael Savage interview with Dr. William Forstchen: podcast of 1-29-2019: https://omny.fm/shows/savage-nation-with-michael-savage/playlists/podcast/embedstyle=artwork&background=ffffff&highlight=fa5742&foreground=000000

  • Just the end of July summer here in n.e. Florida. Had nice downpours in the afternoons, so the fire danger is relatively low.

  • I’m from Louisiana, originally, where near the gulf it’s often above 90 degrees and always humid and hot. I’m in Pakistan right now, where the temperature reached 122 degrees last summer and EVERY summer it’s well over 100 most days and usually reaches 110 or more. I use a squirt bottle during the day to cool off, wear shorts and a T, and try to stay as comfy as possible. We don’t have an a/c and I don’t go anywhere during the summer at all, because of the heat. When I tried a few years ago, I almost fainted. If we have to travel in the summer months – we take a car that has a powerful a/c, because this is just miserable weather. One of my brother-n-laws is living and working in Kuwait. During the summer there its not strange for them to see the trees and plants spontaneously burst into flames. As miserable as this is – it could be worse. 😀

  • The heat never really bothered me, I’m 62 years old and I was outside working on the frame of a 1993 Chevy Blazer, laying on the ground using an angle grinder, hammer and punch.
    At my regular job, I work outdoors which I enjoy so bring it on!

  • I wonder how hot is this heat wave—the “heat index” isn’t the same as temperature.

    In talking with my grandfather, he mentioned that the 1930s were miserable during the summer. The worst he mentioned was that one night the low for the night, in St. Paul, Minnesota, was 98° F. That was the low for the night, what was the high for the day?

    My mother, who was born in the late 1920s, remembers growing up that it was common to wake up in a wet bed—wet from sweating all night. They would have appreciated AC.

    This is to give some historical reference to the present heat wave, while still serious, is not unprecedented,

  • T shirt and jeans run through a rinse and spin in the washer will chill you down, especially the jeans as long as you have power and water. Misting your face and head with water helps when driving in the car without AC. Misting your sheets at bedtime will also give good results. As mentioned by others, get up early and do any needed outdoor chores. One year I hung queen flat sheets held by clothes pins on the sunny side of the fence in my chicken run, to help keep them cooler. Some showed signs of heat distress such as panting, they cam through OK. We had an abundance of water so I could hose down the run several times each day. Had some nearly 4″ by 3′ plywood panels that I propped up in the chicken run to create more shade. While folks had recommended water frozen in plastic bottles to cool the coup and lay around in the run my chickens had never seen this before and the bottles alarmed them – so try to introduce the bottles or containers earlier than the crisis so the birds are familiar with them. Yes, my 5 chickens were spoiled.

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