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    Scorching Weekend Heat Just the Beginning

    By By Bill Deger, Meteorologist
    July 17, 2011, 3:36:46 AM EDT

    "The sizzling temperatures will expand to the East Coast next week..."

    A severe and prolonged heat wave will impact millions across the country this weekend and beyond, with temperatures in many areas topping the century mark for several days in a row.

    The extreme heat will expand north across the Plains this weekend and then east next week, threatening to bring some of the warmest temperatures so far this summer to the big cities along I-95.

    And as the old adage goes, it's not just the heat, it's the humidity. As Meteorologist Andy Mussoline pointed out, AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures will range from 105 degrees to as high as 115 degrees in some areas, beating the normal temperature by 10 degrees on average.

    Such apparent temperatures will raise serious health concerns for at-risk individuals who venture outdoors for prolonged periods of time.

    Oklahoma City, Wichita and Dallas have seen their thermometer in triple digits frequently as of late. Cities farther north and east including Kansas City, St. Louis and Des Moines will flirt with that milestone temperature over the next few days.

    Temperatures in several other metropolitan areas, including Minneapolis and Chicago, will reach well into the 90s early next week, with humidity doing the rest of the work in making it feel much warmer.

    AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg adds that "it may [very] well get lethal on the Plains and in the Midwest this weekend into next week."

    The sizzling temperatures will expand to the East Coast next week, peaking around the end of the week.

    New York, Philadelphia and Washington could approach 100 degrees, with temperatures sure to feel much warmer than what the thermometer reads. At the very least, next weekend appears that it will be several degrees warmer and more humid than this one.

    Little relief is in sight even beyond that point. Lundberg and the rest of the AccuWeather.com Long-Range team expects above-normal temperatures to last for the next couple of weeks over much of the eastern half of the country.


    For the Midwest and Northeast, a heat wave begins when temperatures rise to 90 or above for three consecutive days. In some areas, that initial definition could be reached two or three times by the end of the month.

    Unfortunately, each year people lose their lives in severe heat waves such as this. It is imperative that individuals engaging in outdoor activities stay well hydrated and take frequent breaks.

    Seniors and those with health problems are most at risk of heat-related illness, especially if these individuals are not checked on frequently and live in non-air conditioned environments. Some cities will likely offer assistance to these individuals during the heat wave by opening shelters and providing fans free of charge.

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