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article imageDeadly heatwave to hit large part of U.S. next week

By Karen Graham     Jul 3, 2020 in Environment
A sustained blast of heat is expected to bake much of the United States with hotter-than-usual temperatures this holiday weekend, and forecasts suggest that the extreme heat and the humidity could linger for several weeks.
The extreme weather being brought in on the nation's first major heat wave comes at a time when coronavirus cases are spiking across the country as resources are already strained. Experts are concerned because the pandemic presents some unique challenges, and coupled with extremes of weather brought on by climate change, only add to health risks.
Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch at the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, says "the first half of July looks to have well-above-normal temperatures, at pretty high probabilities, beginning around the Fourth of July or slightly before."
"Our models indicate that this is going to be somewhat persistent through the first two weeks of July, and potentially longer. With temperatures set to feel hotter in Dallas than in Death Valley, heat warnings are already in effect for 22 million Americans in states from Missouri to Texas, CNN reports.
And there are going to be huge swatches of the U.S. affected by the heat that is moving up from the Gulf of Mexico. Parts of the country, from eastern New Mexico and Colorado across the central Plains and into the Northeast will be hit with the heat and humidity, reports NBC News.
Gottschalck is also warning that powerful thunderstorms could form around the edges of the heat dome in a "ring of fire" pattern likely to be most severe in the northern Plains.
Perhaps even more concerning is the risk of many people succumbing to heatstroke. This is a condition that occurs when the humidity is so high that sweat fails to effectively evaporate. This will be the case in cities such as Dallas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Wichita, Kansas, over the next several days.
More about Heat wave, extreme fire weather, public health risk, coronavirus, Climate change
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