Epic heatwave will stretch from Midwest to East Coast, raising warnings to 72 million

Nearly 72 million people across the country were under extreme heat warnings Monday morning, the National Weather Service said.

With Thursday’s seasonal solstice taking place amid an expected weeklong heat wave across the East Coast and Midwest, summer 2024 is shaping up to be hot.

Extreme heat warnings were in place for Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Albany, New York.

Models show the heat could last through Friday and beyond.

“The duration of this heat wave is notable and potentially the longest in decades in some regions,” the Federal Weather Forecast Center said.

A high pressure system called an upper level ridge that overlooks the Ohio Valley extends across the Midwest and East Coast and will produce clear skies, warm, stable air and record temperatures in the 90s and beyond, according to forecasters.

Some areas will see temperatures as high as 105, according to the weather service. Forecasters predict temperatures will reach up to 25 degrees above normal in many areas subject to the summer system.

The NWS office in Phoenix said it reached 112 degrees Sunday, 7 degrees above average and not far from the daily record of 115.

A boy cools off at a fountain on a hot day in Chicago on Sunday.Nam Y. Huh/AP

The Nevada Division of Emergency Management warned people not to rely on fans to stay cool and to seek out air-conditioned places such as libraries and malls, or cooling centers that have been opened across the South -West in recent weeks.

New temperature records could be set from the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes to the northern Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the weather service said.

The National Weather Service office in Pittsburgh said it “could be the most impactful heat wave of the 21st century.”

Buffalo Public Schools said in a statement that it is implementing half days on four of the five days of the week. The schedule will allow students in grades K-8 to return home at the end of their lunch hour.

Nights will likely bring some relief, with low temperatures in this quarter of the country dipping into the 60s and 70s, they said.

On the northwest side of the heat, flash flooding could occur Monday in the Dakotas and Minnesota, forecasters said. On the southwest side, rain from the Gulf of Mexico was expected in parts of Texas and Louisiana, possibly through Wednesday, they said.

The Tropical Weather Service is also on the lookout for possible storms developing in the Gulf, he said.

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