BOSTON — Dangerously hot temperatures are expected to spread across the Central and Eastern United States through the weekend, with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees in the hardest-hit places, the National Weather Service has warned.
And even when the sun dips below the horizon, temperatures in many places are expected to remain in the 80s.
The hottest part of the country? Smack dab in the middle.
Everyone living in the region stretching from northern Oklahoma and central Nebraska through Iowa, Missouri and western Illinois should brace for a “prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures and high humidity,” the warnings say. People in central and south central Kansas should expect to endure highs of about 102 degrees; the temperature in Des Moines, Iowa, was expected to hover around 100.
Excessive heat warnings have also been posted farther east, for parts of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
All told, at least 15 million people across the United States are being warned of dangerously high temperatures that could affect human health today and Friday.
By the weekend, what meteorologists are calling a “heat dome” in the middle part of the country is expected to spread into the Great Lakes and the East Coast.
“The combination of heat and humidity can take its toll on someone who is outside and overdoing it,” said Richard Bann, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center. “It can be life-threatening.”
Last year, 108 people died from extreme heat, compared to just 30 who died from cold, according to statistics on weather-related fatalities released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Some of the country’s biggest cities can expect to swelter.
So far, Philadelphia is the only major city on the East Coast under an excessive heat warning. Meteorologists are predicting highs there of 100 degrees. But New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston are expected to be uncomfortably hot, with temperatures soaring into the high 90s and above; Chicago can expect the same.
Saturday’s expected highs are 97 in Boston, 100 in Washington and 98 in New York. Chicago is expected to see a high of 97 degrees Friday and 94 on Saturday.