The worst heat wave of the summer so far is just starting to cook over the Plains this week.
The heat wave will eclipse the magnitude and coverage area of last week's heat wave in the Northeast.
Actual temperatures in many cities from Houston, San Antonio and Dallas to Oklahoma City, Denver, Kansas City, Wichita and Omaha will reach triple-digit readings.
The combination of extreme actual temperatures, intense June sunshine, humidity levels and wind will contribute to AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures much, much higher.
The worst conditions will continue to stretch from eastern and central Texas to central South Dakota today.
For some locations, the heat will not just last a couple of days, but many days in a row.
Denver, Colo., tied the all-time record high temperature of 105 both Monday and Tuesday, and could reach 100 for the sixth consecutive day today, breaking a record.
The record for consecutive days of 100-degree temperatures in Denver is, in fact, five set in 1985, 2005 and now 2012. The pattern spanning July 19 to 23 in 2005 brought temperatures as high as 105 degrees.
In Denver and in much of Colorado, the drought, heat and low humidity will continue to add to the dangers of new wildfires and the spread of existing fires.
A wildfire burning out of control on the edge of Colorado Springs has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
The heat wave is being caused by a zone of high pressure at most levels of the atmosphere centered over the Plains this week. At the same time, troughs of low pressure (southward scoops of cool air at high levels of the atmosphere) were present in the Northeast and the Northwest.
Later in the week, the pattern will shift so that the Northeast and Northwest will warm, while the extreme nature of the heat eases over the northern and central Plains.
A zone of thunderstorms could also work to break the heat a bit over the central Rockies and Plains later in the week.
However, it will remain blistering hot farther south over the Plains.
Dallas, which had its first 100-degree high on Sunday, is likely to have triple-digit highs through at least Friday.
As millions prepare to take part in Memorial Day weekend events, showers, storms and a potential tropical system could threaten outdoor activities and travel plans during the extended weekend.
Summerlike warmth will make it feel like the 90s F at times in the eastern United States through Memorial Day weekend, despite localized rainfall.
An area of showers and thunderstorms near the Bahamas has the potential to develop into a tropical system and impact part of the East Coast of the United States during Memorial Day weekend.
The threat for severe weather, including tornadoes and flash flooding, will expand across the central United States through the end of the week.
As summer approaches, sun protection becomes a vital part of daily activity.
Dallas, Ft. Worth Texas (1982)
Flooding rains in Dallas, Ft. Worth, area; over 2" in most places. Total rainfall of 13" at this point of the month, making it the wettest May since records began in 1898.
Wesley, LA (1991)
Heavy rain (25th-26th) resulted in widespread flooding. One hundred-sixty homes -- 80% of the total number of houses in town -- received structural or water damage. A total of 6.5" of rain fell in 2-1/2 hours.
Philadelphia, PA (1991)
96 degrees -- a record sixth 90-degree reading for the month. (The month ended with twelve 90-degree days.)