Excessive heat warnings and advisories are in effect through the end of this week, as what is being called the worst heat wave of the year hits the Northeast. A combination of temperatures soaring into the mid-90s and humidity levels on the rise is expected to create a situation in which illnesses such as heat exhaustion and strokes are possible, according to the National Weather Service.
An excessive heat warning is in effect for regions from the mid-Atlantic through the Ohio Valley until Friday night, and possibly into Saturday morning, although no heat records are expected to be broken.
National weather officials are also anticipating high heat indices, which are what the temperature feels like, as opposed to the measured temperature. Kevin Roth, lead meteorologist for The Weather Channel, reported that when the high temperatures and humidity mix, it could feel up to 105 degrees.
And Jon Erdman, a senior meteorologist for weather.com, said that temperature drops that usually occur in the early morning or at night will not provide much relief, as the heat is only expected to drop into the upper 70s or low 80s.
"The lack of a break in the heat in the evening and overnight has been cited as a significant contributor to heat deaths," Erdman said, according to weather.com.
By the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday, temperatures may climb to 95 degrees in parts of the Northeast, and even up to 97 degrees on Thursday in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., according to Accuweather.com.
"If there is a small silver lining in this heat wave, we're not expecting triple-digit heat in most locations," Erdman said. "It could be a lot worse, as far as heat waves are concerned."
And the heat wave is only expected to spread from there. By Wednesday, it will move to the West through most of the central and northern Plains in states such as Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, according to the National Weather Service.
Although scattered thunderstorms near the Great Lakes and Appalachians could help bring some temporary relief, widespread rain is not expected, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Otto.
Power companies are preparing for a higher demand for electricity that may result from the heat, and state officials are urging people to wear light and loose-fitting clothing, to stay indoors when possible and to drink plenty of fluids.
In New York City, where the heat index was above 100 degrees on Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reminded people that there are 425 cooling centers throughout the city, "for those needing relief from the heat," a local CBS affiliate reported.
"It's going to be very hot and humid this week," Bloomberg said. "The weather can be dangerous, especially for those without air conditioning, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions."