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More than 65 million at risk as oppressive heat wave continues from the Plains to Southeast

Fox Weather logo Fox Weather 7/4/2022 Brian Donegan,Steven Yablonski
Vehicles are viewed above a 'highway mirage' caused by a thin layer of hot air above the roadway. © Mario Tama Vehicles are viewed above a 'highway mirage' caused by a thin layer of hot air above the roadway.

The oppressive heat wave that has gripped most of the central and southern parts of the country will continue Thursday, with more than 65 million people at risk of heat-related illnesses as temperatures rise into the 90s and 100s.

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Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service all week, and they’ve now expanded to include parts of the southern mid-Atlantic.

High temperatures are forecast to be in the lower 100s for most of the central and southern Plains and eastward into the mid-South and Tennessee Valley.

Temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s are also expected elsewhere, from the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

HOW THE WEATHER YOU'RE ACCUSTOMED TO AFFECTS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HEAT WARNINGS, ADVISORIES

The already-excessively hot temperatures will only be made worse by oppressive humidity levels across the region.

The Excessive Heat Warnings are in place from Kansas City, Missouri, east to St. Louis and Louisville, Kentucky, and south through Memphis, Tennessee, as the feels-like temperature reaches between 110 and 115 degrees.

In addition, the NWS says widespread Heat Advisories are in effect for the region through Friday for a feels-like temperature between 105 and 110 degrees.

WHAT IS THE ‘FEELS-LIKE’ TEMPERATURE?

To make matters worse, it will remain very warm overnight, providing little relief from the oppressive heat during the day.

In fact, some areas could tie or break record-warm low temperatures into Friday.

Record-high temperatures are also in jeopardy of being tied or broken on Thursday.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, will get very close to its record of 104 degrees set back in 2011. In addition, Memphis will likely break its old record of 101 degrees as the city is expected to reach about 103 degrees during the afternoon.

HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEATSTROKE

The latest 6- to 10-day outlook from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center shows the highest likelihood of above-average temperatures could shift toward the western U.S. next week, providing some relief for the sweltering central and southeastern states.

The best time to go outdoors during a hot summer day is in the early morning or late in the evening when temperatures tend to be cooler than during the afternoon.

If you need to go outdoors during the heat of the day, experts advise you to wear loose, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of fluids.

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The dangerous heat can make vehicles deadly for anyone left inside without air conditioning running. Make sure to "look before you lock" to ensure you have not left any children or pets unattended. 

Be sure to download the FOX Weather app to track the temperatures in your area. The free FOX Weather livestream is also available 24/7 on the website and app and on your favorite streaming platform. The FOX Weather Update podcast also provides weather information for the entire country.

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