(CNN) — Relentless, oppressive heat is set to grip much of the US this weekend, with the Northeast region expected to bear the brunt amid forecasts of near-record temperatures across the region.
More than 85 million Americans from the central US to the Northeast are under heat watches or advisories this Saturday morning, and officials across the country are urging people to take precautions when outdoors.
The sweltering heat over the northeastern US this weekend may see more than 30 stations near or exceed their record high temperatures for Sunday, with high humidity driving heat indices into triple digits. [en F°] along the I-95 corridor,” the Weather Prediction Center warned Friday.
“In terms of actual high temperatures, look for daytime high temperatures to eclipse the century mark in the Central Plains and record high temperatures from the Central Plains to the Northeast today (Saturday).”
Heat index values (how the air feels) may reach at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40C) this weekend in parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, helped by sweltering humidity, the forecast center said.
Dangerous temperatures, which experts say are becoming more common around the world due to climate changehave prompted state and local leaders to take action to help their residents cope with oppressive conditions.
“Overnight temperatures will struggle to drop below 80 degrees (26C), especially in highly urbanized areas like downtown Philadelphia,” the National Weather Service office in nearby Mount Holly said.
In New York, the governor is urging people to take advantage of cooling centers and check on particularly vulnerable communities.
“We need everyone to be vigilant this weekend, watching for any signs of heat-related illness and looking out for one another,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a news release.
In Philadelphia, where the air is forecast to reach 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41° C) on Sunday, authorities have extended a heat health emergency. Cooling centers, special team home visits and enhanced daytime outreach for the homeless are available through Sunday.
A heat emergency is in effect in Washington, DC, at least through Monday morning, as temperatures are expected to be 95 degrees (35° C) or higher, the mayor announced. Shelters and cooling centers have also opened to care for those in need, the mayor said.
This week there were at least 2 heat-related deaths in the US.
Extreme heat has claimed at least two lives so far this week. In Dallas, a 66-year-old woman with underlying health conditions has died from heat-related issues, a county official said Thursday.
And on Wednesday, a 22-year-old hiker died from possible dehydration and exposure in a South Dakota national park, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The hiker was airlifted to a hospital after running out of water while hiking an unmarked trail in Badlands National Park.
In Arizona, Maricopa County officials reported that at least 29 people have died from heat-related issues since March, most of whom were outdoors. Last year, 16 heat-related deaths during the same period in 2021, the county public health department said. Meanwhile, dozens of other deaths are under investigation in the county from heat-related causes.
Excessive heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the US Conditions imposed by climate change have made extreme weather events deadlier and more common.
In fact, heat deaths have outnumbered hurricane deaths by more than 15 to 1 over the past decade, according to data tracked by the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, in New Mexico, two women died Thursday after flash flooding in San Miguel County, the sheriff said in a statement.
Rescuers found the bodies of the two women in a creek channel after seeing a car overturn, Sheriff Chris Lopez said. A man was also reported missing in the flood, he added.
85% of the US will have high temperatures next week
About 85% of the US population, or 273 million people, could see high temperatures above 90 degrees (32° C) during the next week. And about 55 million people could see high temperatures of 100 degrees (37° C) or more during the next seven days.
On Saturday, “sweltering temperatures” will grip the Middle Mississippi Valley and Central Plains with temperatures forecast to top 100 degrees (37C), the weather forecast center said.
Daytime temperatures could exceed 100 degrees (37° C) in much of the Southwest, with some areas exceeding 110 degrees (43° C), according to the center.
The south-central region can expect to see high temperatures in the triple digits (F°) every day between Sunday and Thursday, the forecast center said.
“There is some good news in the mid-range (post-weekend) as an approaching cold front brings a brief injection of cooler temperatures across the Midwest and Northeast, but the core of intense heat shifts early toward South Central US and Pacific Northwest next week,” the forecast center wrote.
CNN’s Samantha Beech, Robert Shackelford, Rachel Ramirez, Rebekah Riess, Paradise Afshar and Haley Brink contributed to this report.