The National Weather Service posted excessive heat warnings last week for much of the nation’s heartland, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, as well as South and North Dakota, where predicted heat indexes exceeded 110 degrees Fahrenheit in many of those areas. The heat wave is the latest in a series of extreme weather events to beset the midwest in the last few months. The devastating tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, in late May, killing nearly 160 people and destroying more than 8,000 homes and other structures, as well as the ongoing flooding along the Missouri River, which has triggered weeks of evacuations and other emergency measures from Montana through Missouri. So far at least 13 fatalities have been attributed to the hot weather.
The National Weather Service today issued an excessive heat watch, meaning temperatures will feel hotter than 105 degrees, for many eastern states including New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. NOAA is predicting that the Washington D.C. area could have a peak heat index value of a 116 degrees with the Richmond, Virgina area hitting 118 degrees this Friday.
Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service, called the heat “dangerous on many levels.” The combination of high temperatures, high humidity and a lack of respite “make this an unhealthy situation,” he said in a statement yesterday. Officials report that more than 1,000 US heat records have been broken this month.
The current forecast is for the extreme heat to last through July 24 in the mid- Atlantic, and ending on July 25 when a cold front will sweep across the region.